PARIS Dec 10 European shares fell early on Monday, with a key index retreating from a 18-month high hit last week on renewed worries over Italy's finances after Prime Minister Mario Monti said he will resign.
At 0803 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,129.73 points. The index hit its highest level since early June 2011 on Friday.
Monti's decision to resign revives worries over the country's ability to deal with its debt.
"It's bad news, but there's no panic for the moment about Italy, and the news is balanced with some good macro numbers from China. The market's positive trend is still intact, at least in the short term," FXCM analyst Nicolas Cheron said.
Milan's FTSE MIB was down 0.9 percent, with Banco Popolare down 4.6 percent and Mediobanca down 3.3 percent.