European shares, euro extend fall

European shares hit a new intra-day low and the euro fell on Friday, with traders citing renewed concerns the European Central Bank could delay a bond-buying programme and cautious comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Merkel has come out and while the headlines are not exactly negative, whenever the politicians start talking the market gets a bit nervous. It's all a bit bearish long-term,” said a London-based forex trader.

A Bloomberg report suggested the ECB may refrain from finalising a bond-buying plan before Germany's constitutional court verdict on the euro zone bailout fund.

That mirrored a Reuters exclusive on Thursday, which said the ECB is considering setting a yield target on purchases under a new bond-buying plan but without making the levels public.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index was trading 0.2 percent lower, just off its session low, at 1,086.79 points at 13:47 SA time.

The euro fell to a session low of $1.25015 on trading platform EBS, down 0.45 percent on the day. Traders cited steady selling by an European central bank which has been diversifying out of its euro holdings into other currencies. - Reuters