European shares edge lower ahead U.S. jobs data; Iliad plunges

LONDON Fri Aug 1, 2014 3:11am EDT

LONDON Aug 1 (Reuters) - European equity indexes were flat to lower early on Friday as investors held fire ahead of U.S. jobs data expected to shed light on the chances of an early end to the Federal Reserve's ultra-easy, equity-friendly monetary policy.

While positive for the global economy at large, a strong U.S. employment report would strengthen the case for an early interest rate hike by the Fed, whose monetary largesse has been key in fuelling a nearly 40 percent rally in European equities over the past two years.

"I still think good data is good for the stock market in the long term because it means the global recovery is still on track," Farhan Ahmad, a trader at Tradenext, said.

"Short term, however, we may see some reverberation in the stock market and some further weakening."

At 0705 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.1 percent at 1,347.70 points, falling for a third straight session.

French telecommunications company Iliad SA dropped 10.6 percent, the top faller on the FTSEurofirst, after making a surprise offer for T-Mobile US Inc that set up a potential bidding war with Sprint Corp.

Shares in Vinci also fell 7.6 percent as Europe's biggest construction and concessions company warned it expects a slowdown in the second half of 2014, especially outside Europe, and a slight decrease in its revenue for the year on a like-for-like basis. (Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)