European shares hit as euro zone back in recession

PARIS Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:42pm GMT

PARIS Nov 15 (Reuters) - European stocks ended lower on Thursday, with a key index hitting a two-month low, as data that showed the euro zone had slipped into recession again spooked investors.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares unofficially closed 0.9 percent lower at 1,078.90 points, a level not seen since early September.

Swiss and German stocks where among the worst hit, with HeidelbergCement down 2.6 percent, ThyssenKrupp down 2.3 percent and Roche down 1.8 percent.

However, mounting expectation that Spain would request a bailout helped limit the losses, with Madrid's IBEX gaining 0.3 percent and euro zone banking stocks rallying.

Despite the day's losses, IG market analyst Jerome Vinerier said the overall market remains without a clear direction.

"Apart from the DAX which has started to take a hit, European indexes are mostly in a consolidation mode, moving sideways," he said. "We're not getting any 'sell' signals, keeping in mind that just a week ago a lot of indexes were testing year highs."