* FTSEurofirst down 1.6 percent, Euro STOXX 50 down 1.4 pct
* All sectors hit following non-farm payroll numbers
* European stocks see worst week in nearly 5 months
* Airlines hit by fears bird-flu could deter travellers
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday
to post their biggest daily fall of 2013 after U.S jobs figures
came in much lower than expected.
Rumours of a weak U.S non-farm payroll figure had hit stocks
in morning trade, triggering breaks below several technical
support levels on the German DAX.
The FTSEurofirst extended falls in the afternoon
when the figure came in below even the rumoured numbers,
fuelling demand for safe-haven assets such as Bunds.
U.S. employers hired 88,00 workers in March, less than half
the consensus figure from a Reuters poll of 200,000 and the
slowest pace in nine months.
"It's a bad number, much worse than consensus or the whisper
numbers that were being circulated," Joshua Raymond, strategist
at City Index, said.
"The reaction in the markets has been quick and aggressive
but if anything, it keeps the Fed's fingers firmly pressing QE."
Easy monetary policy from central banks across the globe
have helped European stocks up towards 5-year highs, and shortly
before the jobs data, a top Federal Reserve official said that a
"scarring" of the U.S. labour market may justify continued bond
buying by the U.S. central bank.
"There is more room to the downside given the fact
that nearly all the major global stock indices have
recently either reached, neared or broken record highs, so we
could see the return of the bears en masse," Fawad Razaqzada,
analyst at GFT Markets, said.
"But with major central banks still printing money like
there is no tomorrow, I don't think the losses will be huge. A
lot of people who missed the rally wanted to get in on some sort
of a pullback and they have a chance to do that now," he added,
saying he saw support at around 7,560 on the DAX.
The German blue-chip index breached its 50-day moving
average at 7,797 in morning trade before extending losses
sharply by 1.1 percent in just four minutes.
Razaqzada said stop-losses which had been set up ahead of
the U.S. data release may have been triggered, helping to
accelerate losses, and meaning that much of the non-farm payroll
miss was already priced in.
The FTSEurofirst closed down 1.6 percent at
1,162.21, its biggest daily fall so far this year, and was down
2.2 percent on the week - its worst weekly showing for nearly
The Euro STOXX 50 fell 1.4 percent, falling
below the 50 percent retracement of the rally from mid November
to January peaks.
All sectors contributed to falls, with the STOXX Europe 600
Travel and Leisure index dropping 3.4 percent - the
worst-performing European sector, led by airline stocks on
concerns that the spread of bird flu in Asia could deter air
Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, IAG
and Ryanair all fell between 3.2 percent and 7.7
percent. British budget carrier easyJet fell 6.4 percent
despite saying that it would nearly halve its first-half loss.
"If the bird flu situation escalates, it could cause a
further pullback in some of the travel-orientated names," James
Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts, said.