European stock markets and the euro have slid, with traders waiting to see if EU leaders will deliver concrete steps to tackle the eurozone's spreading debt crisis.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index shed 0.56 per cent to 5,493.06 points on Thursday, with bank stocks hurt by an interest rate fixing scandal.
In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 tumbled 1.27 per cent to 6,149.91 points and in Paris the CAC 40 slid 0.37 per cent to 3,051.68 points.
Milan rose by 0.67 per cent, however, and Madrid gained 0.82 per cent as MPs passed a 2012 austerity budget.
The euro retreated to $US1.2435 from late Wednesday's $US1.2467 in New York.
Banking shares were hit after Barclays was fined in a probe into rigging of key interest rates at which many businesses and consumers worldwide borrow.
Shares in Barclays plunged as much as 17 per cent, wiping billions of pounds from its value.
British and US authorities are probing several other banks which may have also acted improperly in the setting of the inter-bank Libor and Euribor rates.
Barclays shares closed down 15.62 per cent. RBS fell 12.66 per cent, Lloyds 4.42 per cent and HSBC 2.81 per cent.
US stocks shrugged off the Supreme Court ruling upholding President Barack Obama's health care reform.
In midday trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.03 per cent to 12,496.94 points. The S&P 500 index dropped 1.01 per cent to 1,318.41 points, and the tech-rich Nasdaq lost 1.36 per cent to 2,836.30 points.
News Corp shares dipped 0.8 per cent after it confirmed it would split in two, then trimmed the loss to 0.58 per cent.
JPMorgan shares plunged over three per cent on a report that its losses on a mismanaged derivatives trading operation could hit $US9 billion, later recovering to stand down 1.45 per cent.
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