* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.3 pct, hits 4-1/2 month low
* Afren sinks after suspends output from Kurdistan
* Nokian Renkaat hit by plummeting sales in Russia
* Monte dei Paschi falls after results
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Aug 8 European shares dropped on Friday,
sinking for the seventh time in eight sessions on mounting
geopolitical jitters after U.S. President Barack Obama
authorised air strikes in Iraq.
At 0742 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 1.3 percent at a 4-1/2 month low of
1,297.93 points. The benchmark index has lost about 7 percent
Obama said on Thursday he had authorised U.S. air strikes to
blunt the onslaught of Islamist militants in northern Iraq and
began airdrops of supplies to besieged religious minorities to
prevent a "potential act of genocide".
"There's just no buyers out there, and indexes keep breaking
support levels one after the other," FXCM analyst Vincent Ganne
"People have been caught off guard. The geopolitical risks
have been treated as 'noise' by investors in the past few
months, but now they suddenly realise that it's much more than
Shares in London-listed oil producer Afren dropped
6.3 percent after the firm said it has suspended output at its
Barda Rash oilfield in Iraqi Kurdistan, the first field to shut
in Kurdistan as Islamic State militants advance closer to the
Tensions between the West and Russia were also at the
forefront of investors' minds, with shares in Nokian Renkaat
dropping 4.9 percent after the Finnish tyre maker
reported a second-quarter operating profit below expectations
due to plummeting sales in Russia.
European airlines also tumbled, with Air France
losing 5.2 percent and Lufthansa down 3.3 percent and
IAG down 2.8 percent.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday
Moscow was considering banning European and U.S. airlines from
flying transit routes through Russian airspace in retaliation
for tougher sanctions from Europe and the United States.
According to data from Flightradar24, Lufthansa and Air
France-KLM would be hardest hit by a potential closure of the
airspace over Siberia.
Also on the downside, shares in Monte dei Paschi di Siena
plummeted 8.4 percent after Italy's third biggest bank
posted a worse-than-expected loss in the second quarter as
charges on souring loans rose, underlining the challenges the
bailed-out lender still faces to turn itself around.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Alison Williams)