European shares fall on Greek worries, Chinese growth concerns

lunes 9 de febrero de 2015 13:36 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.7 pct, Athens's ATG down 4.8 pct

* Escalating violence in Ukraine also hits sentiment

* JP Morgan downgrades DAX to 'neutral' from 'overweight'

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Feb 9 (Reuters) - European stocks retreated on Monday, hurt by softer-than-expected Chinese trade data and rising concerns about Greece's relations with Europe after its prime minister set out plans to dismantle the country's austerity programme.

Escalating violence in eastern Ukraine also rattled investors, with Germany's DAX falling 1.7 percent. Germany is seen as one of Europe's most exposed economies to Russia, which has been hit by western sanctions over its support of eastern Ukrainian separatists.

Traders also cited a rating downgrade from JP Morgan strategists on the DAX, with the U.S. investment bank reducing its recommendation to 'neutral' from 'overweight', citing among other things the German benchmark's recent strong outperformance.

Greek banking shares tumbled, with Bank of Piraeus falling 14 percent, Alpha Bank down 6.1 percent, Eurobank down 9.6 percent and National Bank of Greece down 9.8 percent. Athens' benchmark index ATG fell 4.8 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.7 percent lower at 1,480.01 points.   Continuación...