A decline in bank shares dragged European stocks down for a third day, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index extending a one-year low.

The benchmark equity measure dropped 0.4 percent, closing at its lowest level since December 2014. The Stoxx 600 climbed as much as 1.2 percent after the market opened and later fell 0.8 percent. Lenders completed their biggest three-day drop since August, tumbling 7.5 percent in the period.

A third week of declines left the Stoxx 600 more than 20 percent below its April record, meeting the common definition of a bear market. On Monday, trading in its shares was about 18 percent greater than the 30-day average.

Worries over global growth and an oil rout took over sentiment, sending European equities back to where they were before the region’s central bank announced it would start its quantitative-easing program. In 2016 alone, the Stoxx 600 has lost 10 percent. The VStoxx Index, a measure tracking volatility in euro-area shares, reached its highest level since September last week.

The declines took the Stoxx 600’s valuation below 14 times estimated earnings for the first time since last January, while the multiple for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell to 15.3. Futures on the gauge slipped 0.1 percent on Monday, with U.S. markets closed for a holiday.

Source : Bloomberg