* German DAX index hits lowest level since January
* UK FTSE 100 hits fresh 7-month low
* Earnings expectations for Europe “too high”
* Ahold results impress, shares rise
LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - European stock markets extended their losing streak on Thursday, with benchmark indexes in Frankfurt and London hitting seven-month lows as fears of a global slowdown took hold.
Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July meeting dented expectations for a rate hike in mid-September, amid worries over lagging inflation and slowing growth in China that have hit risk assets around the world.
While there was some good news from Europe’s second-quarter earnings season, with shares of Dutch retailer Ahold up 3.6 percent after a solid rise in profits, some traders pointed to lofty valuations relative to history and a muddying outlook for corporate earnings.
“The current earnings expectations for Europe given the global growth outlook are probably too high and it may require additional action from the ECB (European Central Bank),” Deutsche Bank Managing Director Nick Lawson said in a note to clients.
Citi said it had cut global growth forecasts for 2016 to 3.1 percent, from 3.3 percent, citing significant downgrades for the euro area and China among others.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 equity index was down 0.5 percent at 0810 GMT, at 1,498.80 points. The index’s losses for August have already matched those for June, which itself was the worst month in two years for the FTSEurofirst.
The export-focused German DAX index underperformed the region. Shares of automotive supplier Continental fell 1.8 percent after profit declined at family-owned Schaeffler AG, the biggest shareholder in Continental, and autos stocks fell.
London’s stock market got a boost from the tumble in the Kazakh tenge currency, sending shares in Kaz Minerals up 20 percent thanks to an effective drop in running costs for a business selling U.S. dollar-denominated commodities.
But with commodities markets in the grip of a sell-off that showed little sign of slowing down, energy majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP lost ground. Tullow Oil dropped 5 percent.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Alison Williams