MILAN, March 17 (Reuters) - European shares fell in opening deals on Friday, led lower by export-oriented carmakers and a pull-back in mining stocks, but banks outperformed after an ECB policymaker rekindled talk of a possible rate hike.
ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said the central bank will decide at a later time whether to raise interest rates before or after ending its bond purchase programme.
By 0825 GMT, the pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.4 percent, erasing parts of the gains made in the previous session. But banks, whose lending business benefits from higher rates, bucked the weaker open.
Europe’s bank index was down 0.1 percent, while the euro zone sectoral index rose 0.4 percent, led by gains of between 1.4 percent and 0.7 percent in Germany’s Commerzbank , BNP Paribas and Intesa Sanpaolo.
Top loser on the STOXX index was Tullow Oil, down 14 percent, after the oil services company announced a 607 million pound share sale to reduce its debt.
Reporting by Danilo Masoni