European stocks continued to fall on Friday, heading for their worst weekly performance in the last three months. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index edged 0.1% lower on Friday morning, thereby extending its total weekly loss to 2.7%.
The decline comes after central bank decisions across the European continent, which indicated that interest rates could stay higher for longer. The Bank of England, Norges Bank, and Swiss National Bank all implemented interest rate hikes this past week.
Of the central banks that released monetary policy decisions over the last week, the Bank of England made the most surprising move, announcing an unexpected 50 basis point hike.
Deutsche Bank strategists Jim Reid observed that the recent monetary tightening moves have been “the dawning realization for investors that central banks are set to keep hiking rates into the second half of the year.”
“So investors were left with plenty of bad news to digest, with little sign of any positive near-term catalysts,” Reid observed. Healthcare stocks rose by 1.1%, while oil and gas declined by 1.6%.