* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5 pct, hitting two-week low
* Worries about U.S. rates and Scottish referendum
* French stocks under pressure ahead of confidence vote
* “Expect turbulence,” Wells Fargo AM’s Paulsen says
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Tuesday, with a regional index hitting a two-week low, as this week’s referendum on independence in Scotland and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting kept investors on edge.
France’s CAC 40 was down 0.6 percent ahead of a confidence vote in the French parliament later on Tuesday. The government finally conceded last week that near-zero growth would prevent it from bringing its public deficit below three percent of output next year.
The worries overshadowed recent enthusiasm about brisk mergers and acquisition activity in Europe in the past few days.
Bucking the negative trend on Tuesday, Jazztel rose 6.2 percent on the day after a 13 percent rally on Monday. France’s Orange has announced a deal to buy the Spanish fixed-line telecommunications operator.
At 1347 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares had fallen 0.5 percent to 1,376.04 points, a level not seen since early September.
“Generally, there’s been some turbulence every time the Fed has moved from accommodation to tightening,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Fargo Asset Management, which has $490 billion under management.
“To think that in the mother of all monetary easing cycles, which is what we’re going through, we’re going to turn the monetary boat without any turbulence is unrealistic. But this will bring a lot of buying opportunities for the long term.”
The Fed will begin its two-day policy meeting later on Tuesday, and investors will be watching for clues on the timing of the first rate hike in more than eight years. The Fed will also release economic and interest rate projections, extending their forecast horizon through 2017.
Recent talk that the Fed might turn hawkish, possibly by dropping its commitment to keeping interest rates low, has pushed up U.S. Treasury yields.
UK stocks remained under pressure, with the FTSE 100 down 0.5 percent, as investors trimmed their exposure to UK equities before Scotland votes on independence on Thursday.
Shares in Standard Life were down 1 percent and Aberdeen Asset Management down 0.7 percent.
Thomas Cook sank 6.4 percent after the British holiday operator highlighted a slowdown in bookings in its German market, which accounts for about a third of group revenues.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Andrew Roche)