REFILE-European shares close lower, down for third week

(Corrects story link in fifth paragraph)

* FTSEurofirst 300 closes 0.7 percent lower

* Index falls for third straight week

* Banks lower after Barclays results, Goldman downgrade

* BP falls more than 10 percent in week on oil spill worries

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, April 30 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares fell on Friday,
with banks declining after results from Barclays (BARC.L: ) failed
to impress investors and as Goldman Sachs (GS.N: ) tumbled 8
percent following a broker downgrade.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) fell 0.7 percent
to close at 1,062.32 points.

Over the week, the European benchmark index lost 2.7
percent, its third straight week of declines. It fell 1.5
percent through April, but remains up more than 64 percent from
its lifetime low set on March 9, 2009.

Barclays ended the day 6.4 percent lower as results from
Barclays Capital, its investment banking arm, failed to match
the lofty growth shown by many rivals. [ID:nLDE63S0UM]

The sector was not helped by shares of Goldman Sachs (GS.N: )
falling more than 8 percent, following media reports that U.S.
federal prosecutors in New York have begun investigating the
company. [ID:nN30239321]

BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded Goldman to “neutral”.

Other banks to fall included Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA: ),
Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX: ), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: ), HSBC
(HSBA.L: ), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) and Societe Generale
(SOGN.PA: ), down between 1.5 and 3.3 percent.

“The Barclays results were seen as disappointing,” said
Colin McLean, managing director at fund management group SVM in
Edinburgh.

“And Goldman is likely to lead to tougher regulation and
more tax for the banks. It’s very difficult to have any
politicians speak up for the sector while this is going on.”

He added: “But people are still looking to a Greek
resolution over the weekend, and I think the rally will resume.”
The European Commission said talks on an aid package to
crisis-hit Greece should be wrapped by by Saturday.

Elsewhere two major energy companies were among those taking
the most points off the index. BP (BP.L: ) fell 1.5 percent,
taking its loss for the week to more than 10 percent, as it
faces a massive bill to clean up an oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico.

Total (TOTF.PA: ) fell 2.6 percent results which analysts said
were less impressive than those of BP and Shell (RDSa.L: ).

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ) ended the day
1.2 percent lower, while Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC
40 (.FCHI: ) lost 0.2 and 0.6 percent respectively.

MINERS FALL

Mining shares were also under pressure, reversing gains from
earlier in the session. The Australian government is expected to
impose additional taxes on big miners, a report said on Friday,
as part of a review of the taxation system to be unveiled at the
weekend. [ID:nSGE63S0NO]

Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ), BHP Billiton
(BLT.L: ), Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ), Vedanta (VED.L: ) and Xstrata (XTA.L: )
fell between 2.5 and 4.4 percent.

Among individual stocks, Norwegian seismic surveyor
Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS.OL: ) fell 8.5 percent after
posting below-forecast quarterly earnings.

Wall Street was lower around the time European bourses were
closing. The Dow Jones (.DJI: ), S&P 500 (.SPX: ) and Nasdaq
Composite (.IXIC: ) were down between 0.1 and 0.5 percent.

As well as Goldman, U.S. investors were digesting mixed
economic news.

The U.S. economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.2 percent
in the first quarter, said the Commerce Department, slightly
below forecasts of 3.4 percent. [ID:nN2926503]

U.S. consumer sentiment fell in April from the month before,
but was better than expectations as consumers saw the economic
recovery well under way but painfully slow.

At 72.2, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s
Surveys of Consumers’ final April reading on the overall index
on consumer sentiments also was above the preliminary reading of
69.5 for the month, which was the lowest in five months.

Stock Market Trading

(Editing by David Holmes)

REFILE-European shares close lower, down for third week