* FTSEurofirst at lowest level since Oct. 2014
* DAX down more than 20 pct from last year’s record high
* Oil price loses more ground
* Italian lenders lead banks lower on liquidity concerns (Adds details, updates prices)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni
LONDON/MILAN, Jan 20 (Reuters) - European stocks dropped on Wednesday as a relentless slide in oil prices hit world markets, with a leading regional European equity index falling to a 15-month low.
Several traders and investors said it remained too risky to buy into the stock market at present, given concerns about the global economy and the weak oil price, while some flagged hopes of central bank moves to help calm nerves.
“Stress is high enough to trigger a reaction of monetary authorities to calm down nerves. And (ECB chief Mario) Draghi tomorrow can do something,” said Giuseppe Sersale, fund manager at Anthilia Capital in Milan.
The European Central Bank holds its policy meeting on Thursday.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index < .FTEU3> fell 3 percent to its lowest level since October 2014, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also fell by 2.7 percent.
Germany’s DAX < .GDAXI> slid 2.9 percent, leaving the DAX some 24 percent below a record high reached last April.
European equities have steadily lost ground since last April, as concerns about a slowdown in China, the world’s second biggest economy and a leading consumer of metals and oil, have hit world markets.
Oil prices lost yet more ground after the International Energy Agency, which advises industrialised countries on energy policy, warned that oil markets could “drown in oversupply” in 2016.
European basic resources and energy share indexes slumped to their lowest levels in more than 12 years, with a sharp decline in oil and metals prices scaring investors away from commodities stocks.
“I am quite pessimistic about the equity markets for the next two to three months. I do not see a 2008-style scenario, but I do see a bear market coming,” said Andreas Clenow, hedge fund trader and principal at ACIES Asset Management.
Clenow said he had no “long” positions -- those betting on future gains -- in European equities at present, although he added that economic stimulus measures from the ECB would provide an element of support.
No sector in Europe was trading in positive territory. Italian lenders led European banking stocks sharply lower as concerns over liquidity surfaced after Italy’s Monte dei Paschi said some customers had been pulling savings out. Monte Paschi fell as much as 18 percent.
Sersale said many investors were wondering about the pace at which people closed their accounts and sold Italian bank bonds. “I wouldn’t call it a bank run but definitely outflows,” he added.
Hantec Markets’ analyst Richard Perry said it was too risky to buy into European stocks for now.
“The continued downside in the oil price is just smashing the markets and smashing sentiment,” said Perry.
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Keith Weir)