January 17, 2017 / 8:38 AM / a year ago

FTSE extends losses ahead of May speech, Europe lower too

LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Tuesday, weighed by miners and autos, as markets awaited details of Britain’s Brexit position in a late morning speech by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The pan-European STOXX index was down 0.5 percent, and Britain’s blue-chip FTSE extended its losses, down 0.4 percent.

Fears that Britain is heading for a “hard” Brexit were reinforced over the past week pushing the pound to some of the lowest levels against the U.S. dollar seen in more than three decades.

Britain will not seek a Brexit deal that leaves it “half in, half out” of the European Union, British PM May will say on Tuesday, according to her office, in a speech setting out her 12 priorities for upcoming divorce talks with the bloc.

British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce was a top European gainer in the index after it settled a long-running bribery probe and said its 2016 profit would beat expectations.

Shares in German fashion retailer Zalando slumped down 6.5 percent, the top European faller, after its sales growth disappointed expectations.

Swiss chocolate maker Lindt saw its shares gain 3.1 percent after it succeeded in growing sales in Europe, Japan and Brazil, facing headwinds of low consumer confidence.

Basic resources stocks were the biggest sectoral fallers, down 1.1 percent, weighed by lower metals prices. Anglo American , BHP Billiton and Antofagasta were down 1.6 to 1.8 percent.

Mediaset was down 3.8 percent after a report, without citing sources, said a potential takeover offer for the Italian broadcaster by France’s Vivendi would not be ‘judicially acceptable’ for Italian communications authority AGCOM. (Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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