* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.8 pct
* Afren suspends output from Kurdistan, shares weaken
* Nokian Renkaat hit by plummeting sales in Russia
* Monte dei Paschi falls after results
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Aug 8 European shares fell on Friday,
for the seventh time in eight sessions, on growing nervousness
after U.S. warplanes struck Iraq for the first time since
American troops pulled out in 2011.
At 1418 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.8 percent at 1,303.38 points, its
lowest level since mid-April.
"There (are) just no buyers out there, and indexes keep
breaking support levels one after the other," FXCM analyst
Vincent Ganne said.
"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
London-listed oil producer Afren said it had
suspended output at its Barda Rash oilfield, the first to shut
in Iraqi Kurdistan. Its shares fell 1.3 percent.
The news was met by investors already rattled by tensions
between the West and Russia which, along with weak European
economic data and the prospect of U.S. monetary tightening, have
hit global stock markets in the past weeks.
Germany's DAX, which is dominated by companies
heavily dependent on Russian energy, sank to its lowest level
since mid-March, down 0.6 percent to 8,987.07 points - a move
that saw it breach March's closing low, 9,017. Technical
analysts say that marks the end of its long-term uptrend.
The DAX, along with the rest of the market, briefly trimmed
its losses earlier in the session when a Russian official said
Moscow would continue efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis,
only to then go back into deeper negative territory.
"The market has clearly moved into risk-off mode, and
investors are likely to sell into any rally (in the DAX),"
Charles Stanley's technical analyst Bill McNamara said.
Underscoring the broad market concerns, U.S. funds investing
in European equities bled money for the eighth consecutive week
in the seven days to Aug. 6, their longest streak of outflows in
three years, Lipper data showed.
Fund managers, fearing that the outflows may have further to
go, were sticking to the sidelines.
"I don't see this trend reversing very quickly, so I would
not step in and buy European shares right now," Hampstead
Capital hedge fund manager Lex van Dam said.
In a further negative sign, shares in Nokian Renkaat
shed 6.2 percent after the Finnish tyre maker
reported a second-quarter operating profit below expectations
due to plummeting sales in Russia.
European airlines also fell, with Air France
losing 3.9 percent, and Lufthansa down 3 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 Italy's third-biggest bank,
Monte dei Paschi di Siena, dropped 7 percent after it
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.
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday it had
banned short-selling in shares of the bank, following similar
action by Italy's regulator Consob.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson and Francesco Canepa)