* FTSEurofirst 300 down around 3 pct this week
* Weak oil prices put pressure on energy shares
* Bearish broker comments hit Dialog shares
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday as weak commodity prices put pressure on markets before a widely expected rise in U.S. interest rates next week.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.5 percent to hover near two-month lows, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also declined by a similar amount.
The FTSEurofirst is down by nearly 3 percent so far this week and also down 6 percent since the start of December, after the European Central Bank disappointed some investors with only limited new economic stimulus measures this month.
Weak commodity prices have also weighed on markets this month.
The STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas Index fell 1.1 percent, with crude oil prices remaining at levels not seen since early 2009 as output in the Middle East continued to rise despite an already huge global glut.
“These growing fears over factors such as an excessive oversupply in the markets and the visible reduction in demand for oil have consistently haunted investor sentiment, consequently affecting any remaining attraction towards oil,” said FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga.
French advertising group Publicis underperformed, falling 0.6 percent after losing a U.S. advertising account with L‘Oreal to rival WPP, whose shares rose 0.9 percent.
Shares in companies exposed to South Africa, such as British financial groups Old Mutual and Investec, also dropped as South African financial stocks slumped in the wake of the sacking of the country’s finance minister.
Dialog Semiconductor’s shares also fell by around 10 percent, with traders citing negative comments on the outlook for the company from Bankhaus Lampe.
In spite of the pullback on markets this month, the FTSEurofirst 300 index remains up by around 4 percent since the start of 2015, helped in part by the ECB’s policies which have supported a recovery in the euro zone economy.
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Toby Chopra