European shares fall further on Greek worries, H&M down

Concerns over a potential debt default prompt investors to cut exposure to riskier assets

A man passes by a graffiti showing a euro sign and a car in the colours of Greece jumping off on the wall of an old house in Athens. The concern that Greece could default on its debt hit European stocks for a second day. Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

Lingering concerns over a potential Greek debt default hit European stocks, dragging them lower for a second straight session on Thursday.

A lack of progress in negotiations with Greece’s creditors prompted investors to cut their exposure to riskier assets like equities.

Euro zone finance ministers accused Athens on Wednesday of refusing to compromise despite a deadline next week that could put it on a path out of the euro zone. European Union leaders are due in Brussels for a summit on Thursday.

A senior official of Greece’s ruling Syriza party on Thursday attacked the latest proposals from international lenders as “blackmail”.

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At 0706 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.5 percent at 1,569.82 points after closing 0.4 per cent lower in the previous session.

Hennes & Mauritz fell 2.2 per cent after the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer reported a fiscal second-quarter pretax profit roughly in line with expectations and said a stronger dollar would result in gradually increased purchasing costs when sourcing for the coming quarters of 2015.

Reuters