European shares falter as worst year since 2008 nears its end

* European shares down 14 pct so far in 2018

* FTSE, CAC 40 down 0.5-1.4 pct

* Euronext moves to buy Oslo bourse (Adds closing prices)

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Dec 24 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Monday asworries over a prolonged government shutdown and the position ofFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell added to angst aboutslowing economic growth, keeping stocks set for their biggestyearly loss in a decade

Activity was thin, however, with many markets closed ortrading for a half-day only before the Christmas holiday.

Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 0.5 percent, whileFrance's CAC .FCHI and Spain's IBEX .IBEX eased 1.45 percentand 0.9 percent respectively.

Germany's DAX .GDAXI and Italy's FTSE MIB .FTMIB wereshut.

"Markets still under pressure from last week's more hawkishFed update, exacerbating fears about slowing growth and moreexpensive refinancing following years of stimulus," said Mikevan Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets.

European shares are down nearly 14 percent year-to-date andon track for their worst year since 2008, having fallen back toa two-year-low on last week's rate outlook from the U.S. FederalReserve.

The UK's complicated divorce from the EU, Italy's contestedbudget and a trade spat between Washington and Beijing have alsobeen weighing this year, forcing analysts to progressively cuttheir earnings growth estimates for European companies.

On Monday, investors were also fretting about politicalstability in the United States after an aide to President DonaldTrump said the partial government shutdown could continue intothe new year. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1YS07A

Corporate news was thin but the pan-European exchangeoperator EuronextENX.PA said it aimed to buy the Oslo stockexchange for 625 million euros. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1YT1V1

Among major European benchmarks, Germany's export-orientedDAX index, which is heavily exposed to China, is set to be theworst performer, down more than 17 percent so far in 2018.

France's CAC and Britain's FTSE 100 are down about 13percent and Italy's FTSE MIB lost 15.8 percent.

(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Additional reporting by JulienPonthus; Editing by Kevin Liffey) ((Danilo.Masoni@TR.com; +39-02-66129734; Reuters Messaging:danilo.masoni.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; On Twitter https://twitter.com/damasoni))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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