LONDON May 30 European shares edged down on
Friday, with BNP Paribas leading the market lower
after a report saying the U.S. Justice Department is pushing the
French bank to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal
BNP shares fell 5.3 percent after the Wall Street Journal
reported the figure late on Thursday, citing people familiar
with the matter. The probe relates to allegations that the bank
evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for
BNP Paribas and the Justice Department declined to comment.
Citi removed BNP Paribas from its Focus List Europe citing
the uncertainty, but retained a "buy" rating on the shares.
"Beyond the uncertainty related to the potential financial
settlement, the key issues remain of the type of potential
charges and impact on BNP Paribas' operational capability," Citi
said in a note.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down
0.1 percent at 1,378.19 points by 0706 GMT.
Germany's benchmark DAX index bucked the falling trend seen
in several other national European bourses, staying flat after
figures showed on Friday that German year-on-year retail sales
grew at their strongest rate in April since June 2012 as Easter
fell later this year than last.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Lionel Laurent)