* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5 percent
* Global worries hitting corporate results
* Zurich Insurance falls after Q3 profit miss
By David Brett
LONDON, Nov 15 European shares extended losses
on Thursday as the rising threat to global growth from the
United States and Europe prompted investors to reduce their
exposure to risky assets.
A sharp sell-off in shares on Wall Street also made
investors nervous and by 0842 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300
was down 4.84 points, or 0.4 percent at 1,083.59, having fallen
1 percent on Wednesday. The euro zone blue chip index
fell 0.4 percent to 2,463.65.
Shares fell as U.S. politicians readied themselves for a
tough battle over the 'fiscal cliff' of some $600 billion in
automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, and ahead of data which
is expected to show the euro zone has slipped back into
"The global economy faces some severe headwinds. Against
that backdrop we see short-term de-risking of portfolios," Abi
Oladimeji, head of investment strategy at Thomas Miller
He said there was a convincing case for reducing equity
allocations given pressures on the global economy from the euro
zone and the United States in particular, as well as overly
bullish investor sentiment over the summer.
Riskier basic resources stocks - demand for which is
acutely tied to the performance of the broader economy - fell
1.1 percent in early trade as investors sought safer havens.
Insurers, which have rallied over the last three
months as central banks stepped in to shore up the global
economy, also fell 1 percent.
Zurich Insurance Group shed 3.4 percent after
missing third-quarter profit expectations, while British life
insurer Resolution was 4.7 percent lower after being hit
by rising IT costs.
Among companies in Europe that have reported third-quarter
earnings so far, 43 percent have missed expectations, according
to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.
Reflecting concerns over the economic outlook, analysts have
cut their fourth-quarter earnings estimates for European firms
by an average of 3.6 percent.
Early falls in European share markets followed a sharp
decline in U.S. stockmarkets.
Traders cited concerns that the sell-off on Wall Street was
supported by solid volumes. It also broke technicals including
the 1,360 level, the short-term trendline on the S&P 500,
and marked a convincing break below the 200-day moving average,
which had not been achieved since early June.
In Europe, Philippe Delabarre, technical analyst at Trading
Central, said EXTOXX50 December 2012 futures were showing signs
of downward pressure too.
"A bearish continuation pattern in the consolidation channel
is confirmed. Therefore, a measured move down is ongoing.
Furthermore, the Relative Strength indicator is evolving below
its neutrality area (50) without being oversold (30)," he said.