BNP Paribas drags European shares down

Shares in BNP Paribas on Tuesday plummeted nine percent to €23.63 after a drop of 12 percent in an earlier session. The decrease followed allegations that the lender could be facing a possible downgrade.

Several French banks remain under pressure by markets amid worries over Greek debt exposure.

Stocks had opened higher in early trade Tuesday after it emerged that China's sovereign wealth fund is in talks with Italian officials to buy government bonds and in strategic corporations. Early gains offered a brief relief only however, as the FTSE 100 fell 0.8 percent to 5,086, while the French CAC 40 decreased 2.6 percent to 2,779, following BNP Paribas' share tumble.

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