LONDON, March 18 European shares fell sharply on
Monday, with markets rattled by a radical bailout plan for
Cyprus which knocked confidence in the European banking system,
though some investors saw the dips as a buying opportunity.
In a departure from previous EU practice that depositors'
savings are sacrosanct, Cyprus and international lenders agreed
at the weekend that savers in the island's outsized banking
system would take a hit in return for the offer of 10 billion
euros ($13.07 billion) in aid.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 1.2 percent at
1,188.31 by 0806 GMT, led down by a 2.4 percent drop in banking
"The whole Cyprus situation feels to me like a storm in a
tea cup and weakness should be bought. This is a message from
Europe to Cyprus to stop misbehaving," said Lex van Dam, hedge
fund manager at Hampstead Capital, which manages around $500