European shares fall, traders cite U.S. Fed official
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct
* Barclays sags on U.S. fraud lawsuit linked to stock trading
* StanChart weakens as warns on 2014 profits
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - European shares came under pressure on Thursday after a top Federal Reserve official suggested the U.S. economy would be ready for an interest-rate hike in early 2015.
The market was also pegged back by weakness in banking shares, led by a steep drop in Barclays after the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against it.
But it was comments by St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who told Fox Business Network that the economy would be "near normal" in terms of inflation and unemployment before the end of 2014, that briefly caused a market sell-off.
Bullard reiterated his belief that raising rates by the end of the first quarter in 2015 will be appropriate, based on his forecast that U.S. growth will register 3 percent for the next four quarters.
"I think it is mainly Bullard (that has triggered the market weakness)," said Andy Ash, director at Monument Securities. "I think it is (also) the fact that we've been going through some fairly important (technical) levels." Continuación...