* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.7 pct
* Tech the top sectoral faller, echoing U.S., Japan
* Volatility ticks up
* Russia tensions rumble on, crimping appetite
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, April 11 European shares slid at the
open on Friday to leave them set for their first weekly loss in
a month, tracking steep falls in Asian and U.S. stocks as
equities came under pressure globally.
Technology stocks led sectoral falls with a 1.9
percent decline, echoing moves in the United States, where the
tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 posted its biggest drop in two and
half years, while the Japanese.
The sector in Europe had rallied over 40 percent from the
beginning of November 2012 to the start of April this year.
Volatility, which measures the price that investors
are willing to pay to protect against future falls and thus is
seen as a gauge of "fear" in the market, ticked up 3.6 percent,
having fallen after dovish noises from the U.S. Federal Reserve
temporarily stabilised markets on Wednesday.
"If you see such a strong trend in the U.S., then it
ultimately ripples through the other markets as well. We tried
to stabilise midweek, but overnight it has continued," Veronika
Pechlaner, who helps manage $13 billion of assets at Ashburton
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 fell 0.7 percent
to 1,321.06, with no sectors in positive territory.
The falls left the index down 2.4 percent for the week and
set for its first weekly fall in a month. A rally in the three
weeks prior to this one had seen the FTSEurofirst 300 post its
highest close since May 2008.
"We've recently taken a little bit out of equities. We like
equities as an asset class in the medium term, but we have seen
a bit of a retreat in the market recently," Pechlaner said.
Political tension further dampened investor appetite after
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the country's gas
supplies to Europe could be disrupted if Moscow cuts the flow to
Ukraine over unpaid bills, drawing a U.S. accusation that it was
using energy "as a tool of coercion".
Shares in European blue-chips with the biggest exposure to
Russia underperformed, with Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank
International down 2.3 percent.
Thales slid for a second straight day, down 4
percent, after JP Morgan downgraded Europe's largest defence
electronics company to "neutral" from "buy" following a company
investor day on Thursday.
"Thales' assumptions on sales and cost reduction through to
2017-18 were weaker than we expected... With the shares up 47
percent in the last 12 months, we see now see limited near-term
upside," analysts at JP Morgan said in a note.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up