PARIS, Aug 12 (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said on Friday the government’s targets for growth and deficit reduction were not being altered after data showed that growth ground to a halt in the second quarter of 2011.
France’s banks were among the soundest in the world, he added, in response to a fresh bout of financial market jitters that hit French financial shares particularly hard this week.
He welcomed a ban announced overnight on short-selling of financial shares and said investors should expect strong measures from France and Germany to address governance of the euro zone economy in the weeks ahead, after a meeting of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel scheduled for next Tuesday.
The European market regulator ESMA said late on Thursday France, Italy, Spain and Belgium were banning short-selling of stocks from Friday after a renewed bout of rumour-driven share price plunges this week in financial markets unsettled by the region’s sovereign debt difficulties. (Reporting by Brian Love and Nick Vinocur; Editing by Ramya Venugopal)