Moody's cut the credit ratings of two French banks on Wednesday because of their exposure to Greece's debt, highlighting growing risks to Europe's financial sector from a deepening euro zone sovereign debt crisis.
But the euro and European stocks were lifted by an announcement by the head of the European Commission that it would soon present options for issuing a common euro zone bond, despite huge political hurdles especially in Germany.
The ratings agency's one-notch downgrade of Societe Generale and Credit Agricole came hours before the leaders of Greece, France and Germany were to hold a video conference on measures to head off a potential Greek default, which has prompted rising global alarm.
China added its voice to U.S. concerns over Europe's apparent inability to stop debt contagion spreading, while Indian and Brazilian officials said major emerging economies were discussing increasing their euro sovereign holdings. more