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European shares lower on poor Q3 earnings view

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday on persistent concerns about the outlook for the third-quarter earnings season that is expected to keep regional markets within a tight near-term range.

At 0709 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.4 percent to 1.094.81 points. The index is down 1.5 percent so far this week on the earnings worries, but analysts said the market was not likely to fall sharply and would continue to trade in a range.

"It's not going to be a great earnings season but there are good reasons not to be too worried about it. I think disappointments will be contained to some degree on the basis that labour costs have been falling and expectations have been lowered quite considerably," Graham Bishop, senior equity strategist at Exane BNP Paribas, said.

"We think valuations are supportive. We are sticking to our pro-cyclical bias," he said, adding the market was in a holding pattern after a good summer run and was looking for catalysts such as more clarity on the U.S. "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax rises to break the current trading range.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Simon Jessop)

((atul.prakash@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 20 7542 6189)(Reuters Messaging: atul.prakash.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE STOCKS/OPEN