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* FTSEurofirst 300, STOXX 600 down 0.4 pct
* Miners fall after mixed China PMI
* France leads tourism stocks lower after travel alert
* German PMI gives DAX a boost
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday, hit by a drop in commodity stocks and banks, while the travel sector was under pressure after the U.S. issued a travel alert over the possibility of attacks in Europe this summer.
The FTSEurofirst 300 and STOXX Europe 600 both fell 0.4 percent, extending falls from Tuesday’s 0.8 percent drop.
The top sectoral faller was the STOXX 600 Basic Resources index, which fell 2.3 percent. Mining companies led the sector lower after official and private surveys on China’s manufacturing activity, which suggested the world’s second-largest economy is still struggling to regain traction.
The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index (PMI) showed activity at China’s factories shrank for a 15th straight month in May. The official manufacturing May PMI painted a slightly more optimistic picture and stood unchanged from the previous month at 50.1 .
“Overnight, China PMI figures were a mixed bag, with official figures showing marginal growth and unofficial indicating a slowdown,” said Ana Thaker, Market Economist at PhillipCapital UK
“China has expressed a desire to move to a consumer led economy but these figures pose a problem for the country as it struggles to boost the non-manufacturing sector.”
Oil and gas shares also fell, down 0.6 percent, tracking a dip in oil prices.
The travel and leisure sector fell 1.5 percent, among top sectoral fallers, after the United States warned of possible summer attacks in Europe, saying that major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation could all be targeted.
French tourism stocks led the sector lower. The industry is already being hit by strikes, and the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, starting next week, is seen as a major security challenge.
“The expectation is that we will see a bit of a difficult summer, and the backdrop of that perception of an increased risk of attacks is certainly not helping,” Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said.
Banco Popolare led the banking sector lower. It fell 4 percent after media reports said Italy’s market watchdog will give its go ahead to the bank’s cash call later today.
Care company Elekta was the top STOXX 600 faller, down as much as 7 percent after its first quarter earnings lagged. It also said that its performance in the first half in general would be weak.
However, German stocks outperformed after an upbeat PMI survey showed that manufacturing growth hit a four-month high, in contrast to downcast readings from other euro zone nations such as France and Italy.
Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent, while the French CAC and the Italian FTSE MIB fell 0.1 percent.
Today’s European research round-up
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA.