European shares fall on Japan worries; miners down

* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 1.2 pct

* Miners, oils down; Goldman negative on commodities

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

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) – European shares fell early on
Tuesday after Japan raised the severity of its nuclear crisis to
the highest level and Alcoa (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) missed revenue targets as it
kicked off the first-quarter U.S. earnings season.

Energy and mining shares fell, tracking oil and metals
prices lower, after Goldman Sachs advised investors to lock in
commodity trading profits.

At 0854 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index of top
European shares was down 1.2 percent at 1,132.92 points, falling
below its 50-day average, and after falling 0.2 percent in the
previous session.

The Euro STOXX 50 (.V2TX: Quote, Profile, Research) volatility index rose 8 percent,
hitting a one-week high, while the VDAX-NEW volatility index
(.V1XI: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 4 percent.

“Japan is casting a pall over the markets,” said Justin
Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management.
“There will also be more issues coming up about euro zone
sovereign debts over the next few weeks.

“And Alcoa has raised worries about whether earnings have
got as good as they’re going to get.”

Japan raised the severity of its nuclear crisis to the
highest level on Tuesday, putting it on a par with the world’s
worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 because of the
amount of radiation released into the air and sea.

Further, the economic damage from Japan’s massive earthquake
and tsunami last month is likely to be worse than first thought
as power shortages curtail factory output and disrupt supply
chains, the country’s economics minister warned. [ID:nL3E7FC092]

Miners and energy companies lost ground after Goldman Sachs
advised investors to lock in commodity trading profits.

Miners to fall, as Base and precious metals prices slipped,
included Anglo American (AAL.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Eurasian Natural Resources
Corp.(ENRC.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Fresnillo (FRES.L: Quote, Profile, Research) fell
between 3 and 3.5 percent.

Brent crude (LCOc1: Quote, Profile, Research) fell to around $123 a barrel, extending
overnight losses, on concern high fuel prices will destroy
demand. BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research)
and Statoil (STL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) fell between 1.3 and 1.8 percent.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: Quote, Profile, Research), Germany’s DAX
(.GDAXI: Quote, Profile, Research) and France’s CAC40 (.FCHI: Quote, Profile, Research) fell between 0.9 and 1.3

The Thomson Reuters Peripheral Eurozone Countries Index
(.TRXFLDPIPU: Quote, Profile, Research) was down 0.4 percent.

The European benchmark is up more than 75 percent from its
lifetime low of March, 2009, with several major economies having
emerged from recession, helped by stimulus from governments and
central banks worldwide.

Two of the Federal Reserve’s most powerful officials said on
Monday the U.S. central bank should stick to its super-easy
monetary policy, arguing inflation is not a threat and
unemployment remains too high. [ID:nN11296347]


Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd (DLL.AS: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 7.7 percent after
,British insurer Aviva (AV.L: Quote, Profile, Research) reduced its stake in the company.

The lower crude price helped travel-related stocks. Cruise
operator Carnvival (CCL.L: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 3.1 percent.

International Consolidated Airlines Group (ICAG.L: Quote, Profile, Research),
Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) and Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) gained between
2.1 and 3.1 percent.
Some analysts remained upbeat on equities.

“Valuations are not stretched. There’s still a lot of
strength from companies, particularly from their dividend
announcements,” said Philip Isherwood , European equities
strategist at Evolution Securities, who expects equities to
finish the year higher.

Alcoa Inc, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported a
first-quarter profit that beat estimates, but its revenue missed
Wall Street’s target. [ID:nN1199754]

(Editing by David Cowell)

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European shares fall on Japan worries; miners down