European shares sharply lower as oil prices drop, ECB hopes fade

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
European shares sharply lower as oil prices drop, ECB hopes fade
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSEurofirst hits lowest since late August

* Fiat slumps on report of lawsuit over falsified US sales

* Tesco outshines after strong sales figures (Adds details, updates prices)

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Jan 14 (Reuters) - European shares fell sharply on Thursday after two sessions of gains, with sentiment depressed by continued weakness in oil prices - which briefly dipped below $30 - and worries over global economic growth.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 to its lowest intraday level since late August following a Reuters report saying many European Central Bank policy makers are sceptical about the need for further near-term policy action.

"Expectations of more ECB help were growing. But news like this is a cold shower for such expectations in a climate already (made nervous) by the China situation, geopolitical tensions in Korea and this morning's attacks in Jakarta," said Marco Vailati, head of research at Italy's Cassa Lombarda.

By 0933 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 2.3 percent at 1,323.65 points, having earlier hit 1,315.37, its lowest level since Aug. 24.

Fiat Chrysler FCHA.MI was the steepest loser, falling more than 7 percent with traders citing a report in Automotive News saying two U.S. car dealerships had filed a lawsuit accusing the carmaker of falsifying sales.

The company denied the lawsuit had been served in a statement to the industry news site.

Weaker than expected results sent Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli LISN.S down 3.6 percent, while Richemont CFR.VX fell 2.4 percent after the Cartier owner said business was likely to remain challenging following a 4 percent quarterly sales drop. TSCO.L was the top performer, climbing 5.3 percent after lower prices and more staff helped the British supermarket chain post a better-than-expected result over the Christmas period. further underscores a good UK superstore festive season," Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said.

Mining giant BHP Billiton BLT.L rose 1.4 percent after upgrades from brokerage firms Morgan Stanley (N: MS ) and Citi.

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