VIENNA (dpa-AFX) - European stocks fell sharply on Friday as nervous investors looked ahead to the U.S. jobs report due tonight and Sunday's Italian referendum and presidential election in Austria.
While positive U.S. jobs data for November may prompt the Federal Open Market Committee to hike rates this month, a 'no' vote in Italian referendum could trigger political uncertainty and might derail the country's fragile recovery. Austria's election result is also likely to have a symbolic importance far beyond the country.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 1.16 percent at 336.90 in opening deals after declining 0.3 percent in the previous session to snap a two-day rally.
The German DAX was losing 1.07 percent at 10,421, France's CAC 40 index was declining 1.21 percent to 4,505 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.86 percent at 6,694.
Oil major Tullow Oil tumbled 5 percent and Total SA dropped 1.5 percent as oil prices retreated after recent sharp gains.
Miners Anglo American, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Glencore declined 2-3 percent.
Aixtron lost 4.5 percent on a report that U.S. President Barack Obama plans to block a Chinese company from buying the German chip equipment maker.
Laird's shares plunged as much as 12 percent on equity dilution worries.
CompuGroup Medical SE shares advanced 1 percent. The medical software company has decided to not continue its discussions over potential acquisition of Belgian graphics group Agfa-Gevaert.
Swiss Re inched up marginally after the reinsurer reiterated its commitment to achieve the individual Business Units' return on equity and its two Group financial targets over the cycle.
Berkeley Group Holding shares soared 4 percent. The U.K. housebuilder reported better-than-expected first-half earnings and revenue despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX