European shares end lower on poor data, Sainsbury slips
* Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closes 0.9 pct lower
* Sainsbury, Nexans drop after warning on sales outlook
* Greek banks among top gainers
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - European shares finished lower on Wednesday weighed down by disappointing regional manufacturing data and concerns about European earnings after retailer Sainsbury and cable maker Nexans issued sales warnings.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended 0.9 percent lower at 1,367.55 points after German data showed manufacturing activity shrank for the first time in 15 months in September. Euro zone manufacturing growth slowed further as new orders contracted for the first time in a year.
"The prospect of a growth impulse in the euro zone is getting more distant as the economic data for Germany point to low to zero growth," Ronny Claeys, senior strategist at KBC Asset Management in Brussels, said.
Analysts said that subdued manufacturing activity from the region, coupled with Tuesday's figures showing a slowdown in euro zone inflation, will add pressure on the European Central Bank, which meets on Thursday.
"Once again, the central bank will have to convince investors that it has the firepower to stave off deflation risks," Barclays France director Franklin Pichard said. "We'll wait for Thursday's ECB meeting before buying the market." Continuación...