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European shares fall on renewed U.S. rate hike prospect

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[LONDON] European shares fell on Wednesday, tracking losses on Asian and US stock markets that were caused by renewed expectations that the US Federal Reserve could raise rates later this year.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index declined by 0.4 per cent, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.6 per cent.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs also cut its view on global equities, downgrading the asset class to "neutral".

"Until we see sustained earnings growth, equities do not look attractive, especially on a risk-adjusted basis," Goldman Sachs wrote in a note.

On Tuesday, data showed that US consumer prices recorded their biggest increase in more than three years in April, pointing to a steady inflation build-up that could give the Federal Reserve ammunition to raise interest rates later this year.

A US Federal Reserve policymaker also said he would push for an interest rate hike in June or July while two others still saw up to three rate increases this year, leaving the door open to a change in monetary policy relatively soon.

Swiss hearing aid maker Sonova was among the worst-performing stocks in Europe, slumping 5.5 per cent after missing its full-year sales and profit targets.

REUTERS