European shares extend losses, macro data eyed

LONDON, April 4 Thu Apr 4, 2013 3:21am EDT

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday, extending the previous session's sharp losses ahead of euro zone data that is expected to further confirm the region's economic woes.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.2 percent at 1,190.70 by 0715 GMT, after a 0.9 percent fall on Wednesday when weak U.S. data heightened concerns about the global economy's growth prospects.

The market will focus on euro zone Markit services PMI for March, due at 0758 GMT, which is seen at 46.5, below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50, meanwhile, rose 0.3 percent to 2,647.23, having fallen 1.5 percent on Wednesday.

Barclays Capital analyst Lynnden Branigan said the 'inside' session seen on Wednesday, where trade was within the prior day's range, highlights the indecision within the market, and he expected further rangebound trade in the near term.

"A few more weeks of sideways chop before we get more bullish again," he said. Should the index break above the 2,750 area, the top of the recent range, Branigan targets the 2,790 area, the highs from mid-2011.

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