European shares plunge, roiled by BHP and oil; hopes turn to ECB

viernes 15 de enero de 2016 11:31 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 3 pct to 15 months lows

* BHP Billiton takes $7.2 bln charge on U.S. assets

* Oil and gas sector under pressure as crude drops below $30

* Syngenta up on M&A hopes, H&M boosted by strong December sales,

By Danilo Masoni and Alistair Smout

MILAN/LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday to their lowest since December 2014, hit by losses in commodity-related stocks as BHP Billiton announced a major writedown and oil fell below $30 a barrel.

Some investors said stocks were deeply oversold and flagged hopes of more central bank intervention to help reverse the trend after three straight week of losses.

BHP Billiton shed 6.8 percent, the top faller on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, after saying it would write down the value of its U.S. shale assets by $7.2 billion. That cemented expectations the company will be forced to cut its dividend for the first time in more than 25 years.

The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index was down 6 percent, with Rio Tinto, Glencore and Antofagasta also among top fallers.   Continuación...