* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.4 percent
* Industrial output of Germany, France disappoints
* U.S. jobs data expected to show healthy hiring increases
* Monte Paschi posts second consecutive quarter of profit
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - European shares fell in early deals on Friday, weighed down by Germany’s top share index after a surprising fall in industrial output, ahead of closely watched U.S. jobs data due later in the session.
Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 percent, underperforming a 0.4 percent drop on the broader FTSEurofirst 300, after German industrial output declined and exports fell by more than expected, raising questions about the strength of the recovery in Europe’s largest economy.
France’s CAC also underperformed the likes of Spain’s IBEX and Italy’s FTSE MIB after industrial output also unexpectedly fell.
“The numbers are disappointing, but the European economic recovery hasn’t been a nice steady trend. We’ve sometimes seen these figures spike lower, but it’s not enough to start pressing panic buttons,” Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said.
Better data was expected from the United States, where the number of U.S. jobs probably rose at a healthy pace in July and wages likely rebounded in data due later in the day, providing further signs of an improving economy that could allow the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in September.
Belgian postal operator bpost sank 7.7 percent to be the top STOXX Europe 600 faller, and was set for its worst day ever after second quarter earnings missed forecasts and it said it expected its classic mail business to decline by more than previously expected.
Finnish tyre maker Nokian Tyres dropped 4 percent after it cut its full-year profit forecast due to poor demand in its key market Russia.
Earnings season has generally been encouraging, however. Of STOXX Europe 600 to have reported results, 57 percent have beaten or met profit expectations, with 66 percent of companies achieving or exceeding revenue estimates.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena rose 6.4 percent after results, as its long-running turn-around plan continued to progress.
It posted a second consecutive quarter of profit and beat expectations, as it continued its recovery after being hit hard by the euro zone debt crisis and by a scandal over loss-making derivative trades.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Tom Heneghan