European stocks slipped lower Friday as the surging U.S. dollar lifted bond yields around the world and hammered domestic currencies in the wake of hawkish comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen and a dovish speech from ECB President Mario Draghi.
Britain's FTSE 100 fell 46 points, or 0.70% by 09:15 GMT, led lower by basic materials stocks, while France's CAC-40 declined 20 points to 4542 in the opening hour of trading. Germany's DAX performance index, which was a notable upside mover at the start of trading, fell 22 points, or 0.2%, despite a 1.3% gain for Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) after it unveiled as many as 30,000 job cuts at a Friday press conference in Wolfsburg.
VW shares rose as much as 1.8% in the opening minutes of trading before paring gains to around 1.3% and changing hands at €13.06 each by 09:15 GMT.
The dollar index, a measure of the greenback's strength against a basket of six major global currencies, continued to power ahead in European trading following hawkish comments Thursday from Yellen, who told the Congressional Joint Economic Committee that future rate increases would likely come "relatively soon".
"The evidence we have seen since we met in November is consistent with our expectation of strengthening growth and improving labor markets and inflation moving up," Yellen said. "The risk of falling behind the curve in the near future appears limited."
After touching 101.26 in early European trading, the index eased to 101.22 but still remains elevated at 14 year highs and on the longest string of daily gains since 2012.