European shares hit by drop in Italian banks, taking shine off rally

viernes 19 de diciembre de 2014 07:44 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct after Thursday's 3 pct rally

* Roche hit as two drugs fail tests

* Air France tumbles after third profit warning

* Energy shares fall again with oil prices under pressure (Recasts, updates prices)

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - European stocks edged lower on Friday, reversing an early rise, as Italian banks came under pressure from a downgrade by S&P and Swiss drugmaker Roche saw two major drugs fail tests.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 percent tot 1,355.47 points at 1113 GMT, retreating after a 3 percent advance on Thursday.

The index was still set for a 2.6 percent rise this week, its biggest weekly gain in a month, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to be "patient" about raising interest rates bolstered stocks.

"The Fed's statement earlier in the week helped to squeeze us higher. But the market doesn't have a high degree of conviction at the moment," Jeremy Batstone-Carr, market analyst at Charles Stanley.   Continuación...