1 de diciembre de 2014 / 13:38 / en 3 años

European stocks knocked lower by commodity slump

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct, led lower by oil, mining stocks

* Vodafone dips on worries over potential bid for Liberty Global

* Oil stocks suffered market-cap wipeout of $250 bln since June

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Dec 1 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Monday, led lower by oil and mining stocks, as weak Chinese and euro zone economic data fuelled a rout in the commodities market.

Shares in UK telecom group Vodafone sank 4.4 percent on talk it would bid for cable operator Liberty Global .

Sources said Vodafone is reviewing potential acquisitions, including Liberty Global, to counter pending consolidation among rivals in Britain.

At 1300 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.6 percent at 1,384.27 points.

Shares in oil majors and oil services companies sank as Brent crude oil tumbled to a five-year low below $68 a barrel. Fugro fell 2.6 percent, ENI 1.6 percent and Royal Dutch Shell 0.8 percent.

In the United States, “shale gas and shale oil have added around 0.5 percent to GDP per year in my model, and I think it will now subtract 0.5 to 1.0 percent as projects become unprofitable and credit in the sector tanks,” said Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank, in Copenhagen.

The STOXX Europe 600 energy sector index has fallen into bear market territory, down 23 percent since late June. That amounts to wiping out market capitalisation of roughly $250 billion - more than the entire market value of Shell, according to Reuters data.

Mining shares also dropped, falling along with copper prices, which tumbled to a 4 1/2-year low, hurt by signs of slowing factory growth in Europe and China.

BHP Billiton fell 2.2 percent and Rio Tinto dropped 1.4 percent.

Data showed that manufacturing slowed more than expected in China in November and stalled in the euro zone, where new orders fell at the fastest pace in 19 months.

“There’s downward pressure on many commodities. That is a function of disappointing global growth and especially the slowdown in China,” Wouter Sturkenboom, senior investment strategist at Russell Investments, said.

Bucking the trend, shares in airlines rallied on Monday. Air France rose 0.4 percent and Ryanair 1.3 percent. Fuel accounts for around a third of airlines’ operating costs.

Germany’s biggest utility, E.ON, rose 4.1 percent after announcing plans to split in two and spin off most of its power generation, energy trading and upstream businesses.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today’s European research round-up

additional reporting by Francesco Canepa in London

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