Not a good day to be a European bank

Bank jogs continue merrily along.

Today is not a good day to be a European bank. You may think the chance of a Greek exit would have been priced in to the markets by now, but each release of bad news brings a new hit to prices.

The worst affected is the Spanish bank Bankia, which was part nationalised last week. Reuters today reports that over €1bn has been withdrawn from the bank since the nationalisation, raising fears of a run - or jog, at least - on the bank. The news sent the bank down 12 per cent in 20 minutes, and although that has largely recovered, shares are still 11 per cent down on where they opened, hovering around €1.50. When the bank was listed in July, it was €3.75.

Bankia (BKIA). Source: Bloomberg

Other European banks are doing no better. UniCredit SpA is down 5.98 per cent, Banco Popolare 3.80 per cent, and Societe Generale 3.3 per cent.

Even things which sound European are tanking. French Connection is down 26 per cent:

French Connection (FCCN). Source: Google Finance

Oh, alright. That's actually because French Connection issued a profits warning this morning, saying:

It appears unlikely that our profit performance for the full year will meet current market expectations. . . The UK retail market remains particularly challenging and the combination of prevailing consumer caution and ongoing economic difficulties suggests that this will not improve in the second half of the year.

A man withdraws money from a Bankia cashpoint. Helping a bank jog? Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Lord Geoffrey Howe dies, age 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.