BNP Paribas pins back European shares on U.S. settlement worry
* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.2 pct
* BNP falls after report of sanctions-related fine
* Defensive sectors continue outperformance
* European earnings outshine Wall Street
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, May 21 (Reuters) - European shares fell in early deals on Wednesday, dropping further away from last week's 2014 highs, led down by BNP Paribas after it was reported that U.S. authorities are seeking to fine the bank.
BNP Paribas fell 2 percent, a top faller on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, after Bloomberg reported that U.S. authorities are seeking more than $5 billion from the French bank as a settlement over its dealings with sanctioned countries.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch describes the fine as "clearly a negative," adding that it could affect the bank's dividend.
The bank accounted for over a third of the 0.3 percent drop on France's blue chip CAC 40 index. Continuación...