* FTSEurofirst down 0.5 percent
* Euro zone falls into 2nd recession post 2009
* Growth outlook sees investors cut equity positions
* H&M posts unexpected fall in sales
* Analysts cut European corporate earnings forecasts for Q4
By David Brett
LONDON, Nov 15 European shares fell for the
second day running on Thursday as investors fretted over waning
growth due to the euro zone debt crisis and doubts about the
U.S. fiscal situation.
By 1112 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 had shed 4.86
points, or 0.5 percent to 1,083.57, adding to Wednesday's 1
percent decline, while the euro zone blue chip index
fell 0.2 percent to 2,468.74.
Concerns over whether the Greek government can avert a
default and if Spain will ask for a formal bailout, combined
with the approaching U.S. 'fiscal cliff' of some $600 billion in
automatic tax hikes and spending cuts has hit business and
Those concerns have led to declining volumes in equities as
investors have opted to conserve cash or invest in safer assets
such as German or U.S. government debt. The FTSEurofirst traded
just 20 percent of its average 90-day daily volume by 1112 GMT.
UBS said its Global Positioning Index declined for the third
consecutive week on falling risk appetite, while the recent
decline in the UBS global risk index has reversed and has
started to rise.
"Lingering concerns over near-term global growth mean that
investors are less positive about cyclical assets compared to
two weeks ago," UBS said in a note.
Insurers, which are directly exposed to Europe's
debt crisis and rallied over the last three months as central
banks stepped in to shore up the global economy, fell 0.8
There was more downbeat news out of the euro zone, which
fell into a recession in July-September, the second since the
global financial crisis in 2009.
"I do not see any good news coming over the next couple
weeks and no encouraging signs that will change investors'
mood," Johannes Reich, head of equity research and strategy at
Bankhaus Metzler, said.
He said the outlook for growth, particularly in Europe
remains a stumbling block, but the accommodative loose monetary
policy from central banks should prevent a steep retracement in
"It is going to be bumpy ride for equities but I do not see
a major trend up or down," Reich said.
The weak demand and waning confidence among consumers is
denting the outlook for corporates.
Hennes & Mauritz, the world's second-largest
fashion retailer, fell 3.7 percent after it reported an
unexpected 5 percent fall in comparable sales in October.
The retail sector was down 1.2 percent with London-listed
Kingfisher falling 2.5 percent after British retail
sales posted a shock drop in October.
It is not just the retailers that are suffering, Zurich
Insurance Group shed 3.2 percent after missing
third-quarter profit expectations, while British life insurer
Resolution was 3.6 percent lower after being hit by
rising IT costs.
Those results followed telecoms firm Vodafone and
utility E.ON both of whom cut their outlooks recently
citing falling demand in Europe.
Reflecting concerns over the economic outlook, analysts have
cut their fourth-quarter earnings estimates for European firms
by an average of 3.6 percent.