European shares extend sell-off as energy stocks suffer
LONDON Dec 12 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday, with renewed declines in the price of oil hitting energy stocks, while political concerns over Greece also pegged back equities.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down by 0.7 percent at 1,347.45 points in early session trading, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index declined by 0.8 percent to 3,133.36 points.
European stock markets had managed to stabilise slightly on Thursday, but a further fall in the price of oil meant the region's equity indexes resumed their losing streak.
The STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas Index fell 0.9 percent as Brent crude continued its march downwards on Friday, dropping to a 5-1/2-year low of $63 a barrel for a weekly loss of more than 8 percent, amid persistent concerns over a global supply glut and a bearish demand outlook.
Traders also remained concerned by Greece.
In Greece, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday warned the country risked a "catastrophic" return to the depths of its debt crisis if his government fell, raising the stakes before a presidential vote this month.
"Greece is rearing its ugly head again. It's not good for the euro zone," said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment Management. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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