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European shares turn negative, financials weigh

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - European shares turned negative in early trade on Thursday after rising for five sessions in a row, with banking shares losing ground and retailers retreating.

At 0856 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 742.13 points. The index is down 10 percent so far this year after plunging 45 percent in 2008.

Among financials, Societe Generale SOGN.PA was down 2.5 percent, Credit Agricole CAGR.PA fell 1 percent and AXA AXAF.PA declined 2.8 percent.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 .FTSE index was flat, Germany's DAX .GDAXI rose 0.3 percent and France's CAC 40 .FCHI fell 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Atul Prakash)

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