LONDON, June 24 European shares fell on Monday
and pushed a leading regional index firmly into negative
territory for the year as worries over a possible Chinese credit
crunch and a scaling back in U.S economic stimulus hit markets.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
provisionally closed down 1.5 percent at 1,115.39 points, its
worst finish since ending at 1,108.59 points on Nov. 29 last
year. It is now down 1.6 percent year to date.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also fell, down 1.4 percent to 2,513.48 points, and it is now
down nearly 5 percent since the start of 2013.
World stock markets hit record highs in late May but then
fell back after U.S. Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke confirmed
the Fed would soon scale back a stimulus programme known as
"quantitative easing" that had driven the equity rally.
Signs of a cash crunch in China's banks over the last week
have also added to the rout, with some 860 billion euros ($1.1
trillion) wiped off the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index
since markets hit a peak in late May.
"There are concerns about China and there's little for
people to be positive about at the moment. Things have been
dropping like a stone. It seems a little bit too brutal for it
to be just a healthy pullback," said MB Capital trading director
In the past, such declines have seen investors move in to
buy stocks on the cheap, but Bullus said he would not want to
buy equities at current levels.
"We are coming down to oversold levels, but I wouldn't want
to be catching a falling knife," he said, referring to the
trouble with timing the bottom in such a market.