Persistent Greek fears hobble European equities

Relentless worries over a possible Greek exit from the euro zone checked European stock markets on Friday after a brief rally following sharp losses earlier in the week, and traders said markets would remain volatile over the coming month.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index initially rose some 0.8 percent, but then fell into negative territory after Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders said central banks and companies would be making a grave error if they were not preparing for Greece to leave the euro zone.

The index, which had fallen to a five-month intraday low of 964.66 points on May 21, was down 0.3 percent at 979.81 points by 1105 GMT.

Traders said that in spite of a two-day rally which occurred as bargain hunters sought out beaten-down stocks, the underlying outlook remained negative.

?Europe is in a recession, China is slowing down and the United States is slowing down as well,? said Michel Juvet, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Bordier