* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5 pct
* STOXX Europe energy sector index sinks 4.5 pct
* Drop in oil prices seen weighing on euro zone inflation
* Shares in airlines surge; Air France up 8 pct
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday morning, retreating for the first time in six sessions as a further drop in crude oil prices kept the pressure on energy shares and revived fears of deflation in the euro zone.
BP shed 3.5 percent, Total sank 4.1 percent, Seadrill lost 4.6 percent and Saipem slipped 4.1 percent.
A number of oil services firms including Seadrill have been forced to scrap their dividends as the sector struggles with the drop in crude prices, which is prompting oil majors to accelerate cost cutting efforts.
“At $72 a barrel, we’re well below the pain threshold for many companies in the sector, as well as many exporting countries such as Iran, Libya or Russia,” said IG France’s chief market analyst, Alexandre Baradez.
“However, it’s a pretty good news for the energy-hungry sectors such as airlines.”
Jet fuel, derived from crude, accounts for around a third of the operating costs of airlines.
Shares in Air France surged 8 percent while Lufthansa rose 4.3 percent and Ryanair added 3.5 percent.
At 0900 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.5 percent at 1,385.05 points.
The benchmark index had risen nearly 15 percent since a low hit in mid-October, lifted by the prospect of further measures from the European Central Bank to ward off the risk of deflation.
“The outcome of the OPEC meeting and the slump in oil prices that followed brings huge uncertainties,” said Naeem Aslam, Chief Market Analyst at Avatrade, in Dublin. “It’s definitely bad news for Draghi because it will prevent any rebound in inflation.”
Brent crude prices were down nearly 1 percent to below $72 a barrel on Friday, adding to the previous session’s plunge when OPEC decided not to cut oil output to support prices after Saudi Arabia blocked calls from poorer OPEC members for output reductions. Brent has tumbled nearly 40 percent since June.
On the positive side, a survey of Japan-based fund managers, polled between Nov. 17 and 21, showed on Friday that allocations to euro zone equities had increased to 17.3 percent in November from 13.8 percent in October, amid expectations of more stimulus from the European Central Bank.
European bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up