European shares fall as US, China data disappoints

LONDON, April 10 Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:25am EDT

LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) - Europe's top shares fell sharply early on Tuesday as recent downbeat U.S. jobs data and mixed trade figures from China heaped pressure on the global growth outlook ahead of the start of the earnings season in the United States.

At 0719 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 11.03 points, or 1.1 percent, at 1,041.21.

U.S. payrolls rose far less than expected in March, data showed on Friday, adding to a series of weaker-than-expected U.S. indicators which have taken the edge off a brisk stock rally in the first quarter.

Ian Williams, equity strategist at Peel Hunt, said the data confirmed that the Federal Reserve had been correct to remain cautious about the pace and the sustainability of the recovery in the world's biggest economy.

"Although that could be interpreted as increasing the likelihood of sustained Fed support, the "risk off" mood that prevailed in the early days of the second quarter seems likely to persist for now," he said.

Elsewhere, data showed China's imports grew less than expected in March, rising 5.3 percent year-on-year, highlighting concerns about the pace of slowdown in domestic demand.

Businesses which rely heavily on exports to emerging economies, such as automakers, were among the biggest fallers in Europe.

There were further concerns on demand from emerging economies as Fiat shed 2.7 percent after Brazil, a key market, said it had no plans to offer further incentives for automakers, according to reports.

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