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MILAN, March 18 (Reuters) - European shares opened slightly lower on Friday with banking stocks leading the decline and Italian insurer Generali down after net profit fell short of expectations.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.2 percent at 1,336.86 points by 0811 GMT, and was on course for its first negative week in five. While Germany's DAX fell 0.6 percent.
Banking stocks were the top sectoral fallers with a drop of 1 percent. Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano were both down more than 4 percent after the ECB set conditions to approve their planned merger and asked for a multi-year industrial plan within a month.
Generali fell 2 percent after the insurer boosted its financial strength but missed expectations with its net profit. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Alistair Smout)