European shares open down

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European shares fell early on Thursday, led down again by banks and insurers, while stocks in defensive sectors such as utilities and telecom eked out minor gains.

At 0718 GMT (8:18 a.m. British time), the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was down 0.9 percent at 824.77 points, having fallen 2.5 percent on Wednesday.

"The short-term uptrend is not broken from our point of view, but sceptical market actors will try to get the upper hand over the next weeks," German brokerage Close Brothers Seydler said in a note.

Among banks, Commerzbank <CBKG.DE> dropped 6.8 percent, UniCredit <CRDI.MI> fell 3.9 percent and Societe Generale <SOGN.PA> was down 2.4 percent.

In insurance, ING Group <ING.AS> fell 4.8 percent and AXA <AXAF.PA> was down 2.4 percent.

Among utilities, E.ON <EONGn.DE> was up 0.4 percent and GDF Suez <GSZ.PA> rose 0.6 percent.

France Telecm <FTE.PA> gained 0.5 percent, Deutsche Telekom <DTEGn.DE> added 0.3 percent and Vodafone <VOD.L> put on 0.5 percent.

Later in the session, investors will focus on U.S. weekly jobless claims and April producer prices, both sets of data due at 1230 GMT.

(Reporting by Peter Starck, editing by Atul Prakash)

Article Published: 14/05/2009