European stock indexes and the euro turned sharply lower along with Dow futures Friday as the region’s debt problems were back in focus after the European Central Bank said executive board member Juergen Stark is stepping down.
Stark will step down from his post because of a conflict over the central bank’s controversial bond-buying program, Reuters reported Friday morning, citing unidentified sources.
The economist told ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet that he was resigning for “personal reasons,” according to an ECB press release. Stark will stay in his current position until a successor is found. His term was set to expire in May 2014.
CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSEArca: FXE), a currency exchange traded fund pegged to the euro’s fluctuations versus the dollar, lost 1% in early trade. The ETF has fallen below its 200-day moving average, a key technical indicator.
Vanguard MSCI European ETF (NYSEArca: VGK), a broad fund tracking European stocks, lost more than 2% on market talk Greece may default over the weekend.
In U.S. stocks, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) slipped 1.6% at the open as the Dow shed more than 175 points.