* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.4 pct
* BP sinks after “top kill” failed on Saturday
* Prudential rises; AIG snubs Asian unit deal
* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]
By Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Tuesday, with BP (BP.L) slumping after an attempt to plug a U.S. oil spill failed, while easing manufacturing growth in the euro zone and China fuelled pessimism over global economic recovery.
By 0824 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares shed 1.4 percent at 986.86 points, a day after shares posted their worst monthly performance since February 2009.
The index shed 5.8 percent in May, hit by intensifying fears that a sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone could derail the global economic recovery.
“We’ve had a fantastic run since March last year and at some stage there was going to be a level of pullback. There is very little reason at the moment for people to be adding more risk,” said Justin Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management.
BP sank 12.3 percent, as its attempt to plug an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico failed on Saturday. The firm said the financial cost of tackling the spill totalled $990 million as it prepares for a new attempt to control the flow. [ID:nLDE650082]
BP shares, which hit their lowest level in more than a year, have lost more than a third of their value since the oil spill started six weeks ago, a wipeout of about 43 billion pounds ($62.75 billion) in market capitalisation.
On the economic front, manufacturing activity in the euro zone expanded in May at a considerably more sluggish pace than April’s 46-month high, fuelling doubts over the sustainability of an economic recovery. [ID:nSLAVGE65K]
Manufacturing growth in China and South Korea also slowed, amid growing uncertainty over what damage Europe’s debt crisis may do to Asia’s export-dependent economies.
Growth in the Spanish manufacturing sector eased in May, as the consumer goods sector struggled, indicating that an economic recovery in Spain will likely remain weak for a long time. [ID:nSLAVGE65I]
Other gainers included Irish airline Ryanair (RYA.I), which added 2.8 percent, as it brought forward plans to pay its first dividend since being floated in 1997 after swinging back to a full-year profit ahead of most rivals. [ID:nLDE65002V]
European banks were on the back foot, pressured by a report by the European Central Bank (ECB) on Monday which said that euro zone banks face another 195 billion euros ($239 billion) in potential writedowns to the end of 2011 in a second round of losses from the financial crisis. [ID:nLAG006303]
Worries over the outlook for global economic recovery also pressured commodity prices, with crude CLc1 and metals prices retreating.
Energy firms fell across the board, with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), Total (TOTF.PA), Repsol (REP.MC) and ENI (ENI.MI) off 1.6 to 2.3 percent. (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by Sharon Lindores) ($1=.6852 Pound)