European shares end lower led by telecom, bank stocks
* Pan-European index down almost 8 pct this year
* Orange, Bouygues to extend talks - shares slip
* UniCredit, Italian bank stocks also fall
* TUI, Carnival rise after earning updates (ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). Adds closing prices)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni
LONDON/MILAN, March 31 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday after solid gains in the previous session, with French telecoms and Italian banks underperforming.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 1 percent. The index had risen 1.3 percent in the previous session after Fed Chair Janet Yellen's call for caution in raising U.S. interest rates buoyed global stock markets.
Stefan de Schutter, portfolio manager at Alpha Trading in Frankfurt, said the market was consolidating recent gains due to the lack of fresh triggers which could come next week when U.S. companies give a start to the earnings season.
French telecom stocks were among the worst performers after Orange and Bouygues gave them themselves until Sunday to salvage a merger between France's dominant telecom operator and Bouygues Telecom, citing a lack of progress ahead of a Thursday deadline. Continuación...