European share prices fell to their lowest level for nearly six weeks on Monday as stock markets across the region failed to recover any of last week’s heavy losses.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 closed down 0.3 per cent at 966.52 in a thin day of trading because of a national holiday in the US. Disappointing UK services data added to bearish sentiment about the global recovery, which had seen the index lose 4.3 per cent last week.

Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Despite the relief that Friday’s jobs report was at the lower end of people’s expectations and came in only slightly worse than expected, investors are now increasingly anxious that the recent recovery in asset prices is no more than an illusion boosted by governmental fiscal stimulus.”

Germany’s Xetra Dax index slipped 0.3 per cent to 5,816.20, as trading platform Deutsche Börse was down 1.3 per cent at €49.64 and Fresenius Medical Care, provider of medical equipment, dropped 1.2 per cent to €42.43.

There were some gains, with retailer Metro Group rising 1.4 per cent to €41.92, while Deutsche Telekom gained 1.2 per cent to €9.65 after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to “neutral” from “underperform”.

The wider eurozone telecommunications sector was boosted when broker Cheuveux raised the sector to “neutral”. On Finland’s Omxh 25, TeliaSonera, the telecoms company, rose 2.5 per cent to €5.30, while on Portugal’s Psi 20 index, Portugal Telecom gained 1.2 per cent to €8.50.

France’s CAC 40 index lost 0.5 per cent to 3,332.46 as Accor dropped 3.2 per cent to €22.77 after Barclays resumed coverage of the stock with an “equal weight” rating.

Oil company Technip dropped 1.9 per cent to €46.05, while the conglomerate Lagardère was down 1.5 per cent to €24.51. But hypermarket chain Carrefour rose 2.9 per cent to €33.07 after Deutsche Bank raised the stock to “buy” from “hold”.

Spain’s Ibex 35 index gained 0.3 per cent to 9,281.50 as solar energy company Abengoa jumped 9.1 per cent to €18.02 after US President Barack Obama’s announced on Friday that the Department of Energy had offered a conditional $1.45bn loan guarantee to the company to set up a solar power plant in Arizona.

The prospect of more money being spent on “green” technology sent renewable energy companies higher across the region. In Madrid, Iberdrola Renovables rose 5.1 per cent to €2.74, while infrastructure company Acciona rose 7.4 per cent to €66.55 as it opened its wind turbine blade production facility in Lumbier, Spain.

Early in the session Madrid-listed motorway operator Abertis had soared 12.2 per cent to €13.56 after the Financial Times reported that its two largest shareholders were studying a possible leveraged buy-out with CVC, the European private equity firm, that would value the Barcelona-based infrastructure group at more than €25bn.

In Lisbon, EDP Renovaveis, the renewable energy company, jumped 4.3 per cent to €5.00. On Norway’s Obx index, Renewable Energy rose 1.7 per cent to €14.99.

On Italy’s MIB 30 index, road operator Atlantia gained 2.7 per cent to €15.00 after rival Sintonia bought €24m of shares in the company.

Intesa SanPaolo dropped 2 per cent to €2.10 in spite of the bank saying it had nothing to fear from the publication of bank stress tests in Europe. Banca Milano dropped 2.2 per cent to €3.34 and Banco Popolare lost 3 per cent to €4.33.

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