( AP ) - European equity markets fell on Friday afternoon after a smaller-than-expected rise in job creation in the US knocked confidence on Wall Street.
US non-farm payrolls, a monthly measure of job creation in the world's largest economy, rose 18,000 in December, less than the 50,000 expected by economists. Wall Street futures fell sharply following the data.
In Europe, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 reversed earlier gains and dropped 0.5 per cent to 1,476.51, while Frankfurt's Xetra Dax slipped 0.8 per cent to 7,848.29, the CAC 40 shed 0.7 per cent to 5,507.74 and London's FTSE 100 slid 0.3 per cent to 6,456.6.
Retailers and carmakers continued to be sold as investors shied away from the sectors most at risk from an economic downturn.
Among the carmakers, Renault of France fell 7.6 per cent to EU86.45 and Germany's Daimler shed 5.3 per cent to EU59.55. Continental, the German tyre and car parts maker, lost 7.1 per cent to EU78.50.
Spanish fashion group Inditex led the retail sector lower, down 5.2 per cent to EU39.04.
Sacyr Vallehermoso, which jumped 7 per cent in the closing minutes of trade on Thursday, gave back its gains and more, in what appeared to be the reversal of a "fat finger", or rogue, trade. Shares in the Spanish construction company were down 8.4 per cent to EU24.64.
Oil stocks remained in focus as crude prices hovered near $100 a barrel. France's Total (NYSE:TOT)gained 1.5 per cent to EU58.48, Spain's Repsol (NYSE:REP) added 1.5 per cent to EU25.24 and Finnish refiner Neste Oil climbed 1 per cent to EU25.10.
Deutsche Postbank resumed its rally following comments on Thursday by the chief executive of majority shareholder Deutsche Post, suggesting the retail bank could come up for sale later in the year. Postbank shares were up 1.1 per cent to EU63.69, while Deutsche Post added 0.2 per cent to EU22.72.