European shares hit 1-week low on Iraq crisis, travel stocks suffer
* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.7 percent, hits 1-week low
* Iraq crisis, chance of early UK rate hike hit sentiment
* Travel, leisure and property stocks among top decliners
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) - Europe's top share index headed for a weekly drop after gaining for eight straight weeks, with escalating conflict in Iraq hitting travel stocks and the prospect of an early rate hike in the United Kingdom hurting property shares on Friday.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 slipped to a one-week low, moving further away from this week's 6-1/2-year high. It was down 0.7 percent at 1,382.78 points by 1051 GMT after falling to a low of 1,381.86, the lowest since early June.
Travel and leisure stocks led the market lower, with the European sector index falling 2.3 percent after growing tensions in Iraq hit sentiment and boosted oil prices.
"The market was looking for an excuse to take profits after a rally to new highs and tensions in Iraq gave investors an opportunity to trim their positions," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels.
"America may send a few fighter planes to help Iraq, but it doesn't look like the start of a new Iraq war. I don't see a sharp pull-back in the market. Shares could fall another 3 to 5 percent in the near term before bouncing back." Continuación...