European shares fall as Centrica, oil stocks are hit by crude slump
LONDON Feb 19 (Reuters) - European shares edged off 7-year highs on Thursday, hit by a slide in oil prices and a mixed batch of corporate results, with disappointing updates from companies including utility Centrica and airline Air France-KLM.
Centrica's shares fell 7.7 percent, on track for its biggest one-day drop since 2008, after slashing its dividend and reporting a fall in its full-year profit, as it was impacted by slumping energy prices.
Oil prices, which had been recovering in recent weeks, also tumbled on Thursday as U.S. inventories were expected to hit record highs. The fall in crude weighed on the oil and gas sector, which was down 1.2 percent.
The broader FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.3 percent at 1,511.18 points at 0820 GMT.
While falling fuel prices have been seeing as beneficial for airlines, Air France-KLM said on Thursday they were largely offset by overcapacity on some routes and currency swings, prompting the company to ease a key debt reduction goal. Its shares fell 4.9 percent. (Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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