* STOXX 600 down 0.4 pct
* Set to end two weeks of gains
* Banks at five-week low, with Popular falling
* Sweden's SCA rises on bid speculation
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By Helen Reid
LONDON, April 13 European shares fell on
Thursday, leaving an index of the continent's top companies set
for a weekly loss, with banks leading the losses.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.4
percent, setting it up for a loss of 0.3 percent over a
holiday-shortened four-day week, which would end two weeks of
The banking index was down 1.5 percent, at a
five-week low, set for its fifth straight day of losses as
investors globally fled risky assets.
Spain's Banco Popular led losses, down 4.3 percent.
French banks Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas
were also among top fallers, down 1.8 to 2.7 percent.
German airline Lufthansa fell 3.8 percent after
investor InfiniteMiles placed a 2.5 percent stake at 15.25 euros
Shares in Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget rose to a
record high, up 7.1 percent. A group of private equity companies
bid around 200 billion Swedish crowns ($22.3 billion) for the
hygiene arm of the tissue and forestry products company, a
Swedish newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.
SCA said last year it would split its business into a
hygiene segment and a forestry segment. SCA declined to comment
on the speculation.
Gold climbed to a five-month high on geopolitical tensions
and U.S. President Donald Trump's comments on the dollar's
Gold miner Centamin was up 4.8 percent. Blue-chip
peers Fresnillo and Randgold Resources also
Mediclinic rose 3.6 percent, the top FTSE 100
gainer after a full-year trading update which showed
2017 revenue increased 3.5 percent.
British retailer ABF was up 3.4 percent. Jefferies
raised the stock to "buy" from "hold", citing continued strength
in sugar and a turn in Primark margins.
Shares in Britain's Royal Mail rose 1.8 percent
after saying it would close its defined benefit pension scheme
Czech bank Komercni Banka fell the most after
going ex-dividend. Standard Life , Taylor Wimpey
and Reckitt Benckiser and declined.
Danish, Icelandic and Norwegian exchanges were closed for
the Maundy Thursday holiday, taking volume out of the European
(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Larry King)