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Europe: Shares hit 2-month low, focus on British election

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European shares fell to their lowest in more than two months on Thursday, mirroring losses on Wall Street and Asia, with a stronger euro following a global bond rout and concerns about the outcome of the British election hitting sentiment.

[LONDON] European shares fell to their lowest in more than two months on Thursday, mirroring losses on Wall Street and Asia, with a stronger euro following a global bond rout and concerns about the outcome of the British election hitting sentiment.

At 0711 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 1 per cent at 1,532.24 points after falling to its lowest since late February.

Britain's FTSE 100 index fell 0.8 per cent as voters in the country get to decide on Thursday who they want to rule the world's fifth-largest economy in a tight election that could yield weak government, propel it towards a vote on EU membership and stoke Scottish desire for secession.

Analysts said that the euro's resilience, partly due to a surge in Bund yields, was weighing on general market sentiment as a stronger domestic currency is a negative factor for export-oriented European companies.

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Shares in Metro fell 6.2 per cent, the top decliner in the FTSEurofirst 300 index, after German investment group Haniel said it had successfully placed 16.25 million shares in the retailer.

Germany's HeidelbergCement, up 4.6 per cent, bucked the trend after posting a rise in core earnings of 29 per cent in the first quarter as it benefited from a construction industry recovery in North America and Britain.

REUTERS

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