28 de noviembre de 2014 / 12:27 / en 3 años

Tumbling energy shares halt European stocks' five-day rally

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5 pct

* STOXX Europe energy sector index falls 4.5 pct

* Drop in oil prices seen weighing on euro zone inflation

* Shares in airlines surge; Air France up 4.8 pct

By Francesco Canepa and Blaise Robinson

LONDON\PARIS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - European shares snapped a five-day winning streak on Friday, weighed down by steep falls in energy shares as oil prices hit fresh four-year highs on fears about oversupply.

Oil major Statoil, explorer Premier Oil and gas firm BG Group fell by between 7 percent and 12 percent after Brent slipped below $72 following OPEC’s decision on Thursday not to cut output, a move investors said would leave oil markets heavily oversupplied.

A number of oil services firms including Norway’s Seadrill , down 5 percent on Friday, have been forced to scrap their dividends as the sector struggles with the drop in crude prices, which is prompting oil majors to accelerate cost-cutting efforts.

The European oil and gas sector was down 4.5 percent. It has now lost $240 billion in market value since late June, more than the entire market value of Shell, Europe’s biggest oil major, Thomson Reuters data shows.

“At $72 a barrel, we’re well below the pain threshold for many companies in the sector, as well as many exporting countries such as Iran, Libya or Russia,” said IG France’s chief market analyst, Alexandre Baradez. “However, it’s pretty good news for the energy-hungry sectors such as airlines.”

Jet fuel, derived from crude, accounts for around a third of airlines’ operating costs.

Shares in Air France surged 4.8 percent while Lufthansa rose 3.6 percent.

At 1145 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.5 percent at 1,385.87 points.

The benchmark index had risen nearly 15 percent from a low hit in mid-October, lifted by the prospect of further measures from the European Central Bank to ward off the risk of deflation.

The drop in energy prices has also contributed to a slowdown in euro zone inflation, which rose just 0.3 percent year-on-year in November according to data published on Friday, suggesting deflation remains a real threat to the currency bloc.

The ECB is due to publish its new inflation forecasts on Thursday and, even if the recent slump in oil prices will not have been factored in, many economists expect downgrades.

“We expect (ECB President) Draghi to signal that a new dose of monetary easing is in the pipeline, and likely to be delivered early next year,” UniCredit said in a note. (Editing by Susan Fenton)

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