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* FTSEurofirst 300 index down 1.1 pct
* Lufthansa falls on news that CFO is to leave
* Commodities stocks come under pressure
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 10 (Reuters) - European shares hit a two-week low on Friday, with Lufthansa falling after a surprise announcement that its chief financial officer will be leaving, while persistent political concerns put pressure on cyclical stocks on the last trading day of the week.
Lufthansa shares fell around 4 percent after news that CFO Simone Menne is to step down, a surprise move that came as the airline is trying to trim its cost base.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 1.1 percent at 1,325.82 points, having at one point fallen to 1,324.86, its lowest mark since late April. The index is down 1 percent so far this week, it’s second straight week of losses. The European STOXX 600 index was also down 1.1 percent.
Cyclicals were hit hard, with European insurance, banking, construction and travel indexes falling between 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent.
Shares in Standard Life, Royal Bank of Scotland , Barclays and Prudential declined 1.5 to 2.1 percent.
“Markets were slightly ahead of themselves so it is no big surprise that we see a correction ahead of some important geopolitical events over the course of the next couple of weeks,” Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels, said.
Investors are jittery ahead of a June 23 referendum on British membership of the European Union. Though bookmakers’ odds point towards a vote to remain, polls suggest a neck-to-neck race.
“The upcoming UK referendum on the EU in less than two weeks, continuing slow growth within the EU and rallying oil prices seem to be taking a toll on European stocks,” Markus Huber, trader at City of London Markets, said.
“With the European football championship kicking off in France and the country being on high alert for possible terror attacks, traders in general might prefer temporarily to reduce or at least hold steady their exposure to Europe for now.”
Commodities stocks also fell, with the energy index down 0.7 percent and the mining index dropped 0.5 percent after prices of crude oil and industrial metals fell.
Today’s European research round-up
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