PARIS, June 21 (Reuters) - European shares tumbled on Friday
in strong volumes, hitting near six-month lows, as concerns
about the prospect of reduced U.S. monetary stimulus continued
to rock financial markets worldwide.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
provisionally ended 0.7 percent lower at 1,136.38 points, a
level not seen since early January.
Trading volume was brisk, boosted by the expiry of monthly
and quarterly options and futures, which exacerbated volatility
during the session.
"We're at a turning point, and it has come earlier than what
investors had expected. Liquidity has now become the major focus
for markets," said Roland Kaloyan, global asset allocation
strategist, at Societe Generale CIB.
European stocks started to tumble on Thursday after U.S.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke confirmed the Fed would
begin winding down its quantitative easing programme later this
year, fuelling a sell-off in equities around the world as well
as in fixed income markets and commodities.
On the week, the FTSEurofirst 300 dropped 3.4 percent, the
index's biggest weekly loss in more than a year.
Tech shares were among the hardest hit, with German business
software maker SAP down 2.9 percent after U.S. rival
Oracle posted worse-than-expected revenues for the
second quarter in a row.