Friday had begun slowly with slightly falling prices which recovered by lunchtime. New US inflation statistics gave stock markets a boost across the world with energy and consumables prices showing no change in February.
Confirmation an hour later that US investment bank Bear Stearns was experiencing liquidity problems darkened the mood however. The bank has been obliged to secure financing from JP Morgan Chase & Co and the Federal Reserve department in New York.
The OMXS index started to fall and closed down 1.2 percent to 305.1 points. Shares worth 20.6 billion kronor ($3.4 billion) changed hands during the day.
Swedish steel firm SSAB bucked the negative trend after news that it had sold its north American pipe operation Ipsco Tubulars to Evraz for 24 billion kronor. The money will be used to reduce SSAB’s debt burden. SSAB A share closed up 4.8 percent.
Telecom firm Telia Sonera fell 1.3 percent to 46.50 kronor and pharmaceuticals giant Astra Zeneca fell 3.1 percent to 221 kronor.
Other European stock markets succumbed to the dark mood with London’s FTSE 100 down 1.07 percent to 5,631.70, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 down 0.75 percent to 6,451.90, and the Paris CAC 40 down 0.82 percent to 4,592.15.
New York’s Dow Jones Industrial closed down 1.6 percent to 11,951.09 while the Nasdaq Composite completed the rout, down 2.26 percent to 2,212.49.