Growth worries, Ireland downgrade hit Europe shares

* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.5 pct, down for third session

* Banks, oils among top losers on economic data, results

* BP falls more than 5 percent on oil seepage concerns

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

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, July 19 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares slipped for a
third straight session on Monday, led lower by oils and banks,
with poor economic figures in the past days and disappointing
results from major U.S. companies hurting sentiment.

A downgrade of Ireland’s sovereign bond ratings by Moody’s
on Monday also added to market nervousness. Moody’s said it
expects Irish economic growth to be below its historical trend
over the next three to five years. [ID:nWLA8628]

At 0809 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
European shares was down 0.5 percent at 1,007.49 points after
falling 2 percent in the previous session and dropping more than
1 percent on Thursday.

Financials were among the top losers, with the STOXX Europe
600 banking index (.SX7P: ) falling 1.1 percent. Bank of Ireland
(BKIR.I: ) declined 3.3 percent, while Barclays (BARC.L: ), Royal
Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: ) fell 1
to 1.7 percent.

“Investors are trying to assess the degree of slowdown in
the recovery that we have seen over the last 12 months,” said
Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The equity market has become extremely data-sensitive and
every economic release will be looked at very closely. The
market is likely to stay very volatile,” he said.

Investors became cautious after data showed on Friday that
U.S. consumer sentiment dropped to a near one-year low in July,
while General Electric Co (GE.N: ), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: )
and Citigroup Inc (C.N: ) reported a drop in quarterly revenues.

“Traders are giving more weight to the top line than the
bottom line currently because many see little room for cost
cutting in coming quarters. Earnings ahead will depend on
revenue growth,” said Gerard Lane, analyst at Shore Capital.

Electrolux (ELUXb.ST: ), the world’s second-biggest home
appliances maker, posted a slightly smaller-than-expected core
profit. The company’s shares slipped more than 6 percent.

Hungary’s biggest bank OTP (OTPB.BU: ) and the foreign lenders
most geared to the country — Austria’s Erste Group Bank
(ERST.VI: ) and Raiffeisen International (RIBH.VI: ) — fell after
the IMF suspended talks with the government in Budapest about
the country’s 20 billion euro aid programme. [ID:nLDE66I0BE]

Erste Group and Raiffeisen fell 2.3 and 4.6 percent,
respectively. [ID:nLDE66I0GC]

BP UNDER PRESSURE

BP (BP.L: ) slipped more than 5 percent on concerns over
seepage detected near the company’s damaged well in the Gulf of
Mexico.

“They might be leaking. They found some gases around it …
(and) there’s a chance that it might be a leak,” said Mic Mills,
head of electronic trading at ETX Capital.

Engineers monitoring the well found seepage on the ocean
floor that could mean problems with the cap that has stopped oil
from gushing into the water, the U.S. government’s top oil spill
official said on Sunday. [ID:nN18131133]

Other oil shares also fell as crude prices (CLc1: ) declined
on concerns about oil demand. Tullow Oil (TLW.L: ), Repsol
(REP.MC: ) and StatoilHydro (STL.OL: ) shed 0.2 to 0.6 percent.

Spain’s Telefonica (TEF.MC: ) dropped its offer for Portugal
Telecom’s (PTC.LS: ) stake in Brazilian cellphone company Vivo on
Saturday. Telefonica was down 0.5 percent, while Portugal
Telecom fell 3.1 percent.

Dutch electronics group Philips (PHG.AS: ) was down 3.3
percent, in line with a broader stock market decline. It hiked
its 2010 margin target after emerging market growth drove
higher-than-expected sales and profit growth despite fears that
a recovery was losing steam. [ID:nLDE66I02T]

Across Europe, Irish stocks (.ISEQ: ) fell 0.9 percent, while
Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) dropped 0.5 percent. The Thomson
Reuters Peripheral Eurozone Countries Index (.TRXFLDPIPU: ) fell
0.3 percent.
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Michael
Shields)

Growth worries, Ireland downgrade hit Europe shares