Worries over HSBC and Greece knock European shares

LONDON Mon Nov 5, 2012 4:35pm GMT

LONDON Nov 5 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Monday, as mounting provisions at HSBC hit banks while political uncertainty in Greece also impacted sentiment, with investors avoiding taking large, new positions before the U.S. election.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed down 0.6 percent at 1,108.90 points, while the euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 index fell 1.1 percent to 2,520.51 points.

HSBC shed 1.3 percent, taking the most points off the FTSEurofirst 300, after the British bank said a U.S. fine for breaching anti-money laundering rules could cost it significantly more than $1.5 billion.

HSBC's problems knocked other bank stocks, with the STOXX 600 European banking index falling 1.1 percent to make it the worst-performing equity sector.

Traders added that uncertainty over a Greek vote on reforms for the debt-ridden country was also impacting European stocks.

"HSBC's results were okay, but the provisions in the U.S. have knocked back the stock. Greece is also a bit of a concern - it's one of those problems which never goes away," said MB Capital trading director Marcus Bullus.

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