Banks and airlines lead European shares lower

* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.6 percent

* Banks decline further on Goldman issues

* Airlines fall on flights chaos

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, April 19 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares fell in early
trade on Monday, with banks extending declines from Friday, when
Goldman Sachs (GS.N: ) was charged with fraud, and airlines
sliding as flying restrictions persisted.

At 0829 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
European shares was down 0.6 percent at 1,088.83 points, after
falling 1.5 percent in the previous session, when the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission said it was charging Goldman
Sachs (GS.N: ) with fraud.

The index is up more than 68 percent from its lifetime low
of March 9, 2009.

Banks to fall included BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: ), Credit Suisse
(CSGN.VX: ), HSBC (HSBA.L: ) Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: ) and UBS
(UBSN.VX: ), down between 0.2 and 1.7 percent.

Traders point to worries that other banks could face charges
similar to Goldman’s.

Greek banks (.FTATBNK: ) fell 3.4 percent. Greek Prime
Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday that Greece will
decide within weeks on whether to activate a euro zone aid
package. [ID:nATH005381]

Airlines to fall, as the cloud of volcanic ash hanging over
Europe continued to cause massive flight cancellations, included
Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: ), Air France (AIRF.PA: ), EasyJet (EZJ.L: ),
Ryanair (RYA.I: ), and British Airways (BAY.L: ), down between 3.1
and 4.4 percent.

“(The market going lower) is a combination of Goldman, the
ubiquitous ash, and also some looking for an excuse to say ‘it’s
gone too far, too fast’,” said Justin Urquhart-Stewart,
investment director at Seven Investment Management in London.

Other sectors were also affected by the flight restrictions.

Food producers were weak, as some of their ingredients and
output could not be transported to intended destinations.

Nestle (NESN.VX: ), Parmalat (PLT.MI: ), Danone (DANO.PA: ) fell
between 1 and 2.9 percent.

Eurotunnel (GETP.PA: ) rose 2.7 percent, as travellers sought
alternative routes.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ), Germany’s DAX
(.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC40 (.FCHI: ) were down between 0.2 and
0.4 percent.

PHILIPS RISES

Among individual stocks, Philips Electronics (PHG.AS: ) rose
4.4 percent after reporting first-quarter operating profit above
the most optimistic expectations, fuelled by its Lighting unit
and cost cuts, though it warned that markets were still
uncertain.

BT Group (BT.L: ) rose 1.5 percent, as JP Morgan upgraded the
telecoms company to “overweight” from “neutral”.

Banking giant Citigroup (C.N: ) is among companies expected to
post earnings before Wall Street opens, with first-quarter
reporting season now in full flow.

“Earnings are exceeding expectations, but some have lowered
their expectations, and much of the improvement is coming from
cost-cutting, rather than the top line,” said Urquhart Stewart.
(Editing by Mike Nesbit)

Banks and airlines lead European shares lower