European shares plunge, roiled by BHP and oil; hopes turn to ECB
* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 2.8 percent
* BHP takes $7.2 bln charge on U.S. assets
* Oils down as crude drops below $30
* Syngenta up on M&A hopes (Adds closing prices)
By Danilo Masoni and Alistair Smout
MILAN/LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - European shares ended on Friday at their lowest since mid-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 weeks of losses.
BHP Billiton shed 6.4 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 6.3 percent, with Rio Tinto, Glencore and Antofagasta also among top fallers. Continuación...