European shares fall on French, German growth scare

LONDON Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:05am EDT

LONDON Aug 14 (Reuters) - European stocks opened lower on Thursday as disappointing economic output data from the euro zone's two largest economies cast shadows on market bets on an economic recovery in the currency bloc.

At 0703 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.3 percent at 1,322.16 points, with Germany's DAX and France's CAC down 0.4 percent each.

The German economy suffered a surprise contraction, its first in more than a year, in the three months to June and France slashed its growth forecasts for this year and the next after its economy failed to grow in the second quarter.

"Data is getting weaker and this is no longer an environment where we are overweight equities," said Matthias Thiel, a strategist at M.M.Warburg & CO in Hamburg, who turned "neutral" on European equities last week.

"Especially the German data is disappointing and this is why we see more risk to our scenario that there is a moderate recovery in the euro zone." (Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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