* Euro STOXX 50, DAX, CAC all down about 1 pct
* UK stock market closed for holiday
* FTSEurofirst look set for weakest month since 2011
* ENI rises after gas field discovery off Egypt
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Monday, with Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC on track for their weakest month for four years, hit by sliding Chinese stocks and prospects of a near-term U.S. interest rate increase.
The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.8 percent going into the middle of the trading session, while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC each fell 0.9 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index eased 0.3 percent, putting it on track also for its worst month since August 201. Volumes were relatively thin as the UK market was closed for a public holiday.
The Federal Reserve left open on Friday the possibility of a September rate rise, although several of its officials said the prolonged turmoil in financial markets might delay the first policy tightening in nearly a decade.
Weaker Asian markets, coupled with more volatility in Chinese stock markets which have fallen sharply this month amid signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, also weighed on European equities.
“The market turmoil will continue in the near future. China is the catalyst, but the real reason for the sell-off is the nervousness about the first U.S. rate hike,” KBC senior economist, Koen De Leus, said.
Shares in French telecoms group Iliad fell 4 percent, with some traders citing disappointment over the free cash flow levels, even though the company posted a rise in first-half profits.
On the upside, shares in Eni rose 2.5 percent after the Italian energy company announced the discovery off Egypt of the largest known gas field in the Mediterranean.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Louise Ireland)