PARIS, Aug 8 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to drop on Friday, losing ground for the seventh time in eight sessions, after U.S. President Barack Obama said he had authorized air strikes in Iraq. Obama said on Thursday he had authorized limited U.S. airstrikes to blunt the onslaught of Islamic militants in northern Iraq and began military airdrops of humanitarian supplies to besieged religious minorities to prevent a "potential act of genocide." The news sparked a sell-off in markets worldwide, with Tokyo's Nikkei tumbling 3 percent. At 0625 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down 0.7-1.1 percent, while German bund futures rose sharply, 44 ticks higher at 149.68 . "The geopolitical landscape already looks explosive with tensions rising in Ukraine and with Russia but the appearance of another flash point and the possibility of being drawn into something deeper in Iraq is set to drag sentiment even lower," Jonathan Sudaria, trader at Capital Spreads, wrote in a note. European stocks have been retreating in the past few weeks, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares losing 6.1 percent since mid-June, hurt by geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle-East. The pull-back has prompted U.S.-based investors to reduce their exposure to European equities, which saw investment outflows of $960 million in the seven-day period ended Aug 6 - their eighth straight week of outflows, according to data from Thomson Reuters Lipper. Mining shares will be in focus after data showed China's iron ore imports jumped nearly 11 percent in July from the previous month, as buyers took advantage of lower prices for the steelmaking raw material and stocked up, despite weak domestic steel demand. On the earnings front, Allianz beat expectations for operating profit in the second quarter thanks to strong insurance sales and despite further weakness in its asset management division. Europe bourses in 2014: (http://link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (http://link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0625 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,909.57 -0.56 % -10.67 NIKKEI 14778.37 -2.98 % -454 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 495.45 -0.92 % -4.61 EUR/USD 1.3369 0.05 % 0.0007 USD/JPY 101.66 -0.42 % -0.4300 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.361 -- -0.06 10-YR BUND YLD 1.035 -- -0.04 SPOT GOLD $1,320.60 0.56 % $7.40 US CRUDE $98.14 0.82 % 0.80 > GLOBAL MARKETS-SHARES SKID AS OBAMA AUTHORIZES STRIKES IN IRAQ > US STOCKS-WALL STREET ENDS DOWN ON HEIGHTENED RUSSIA CONCERNS > NIKKEI SLUMPS TO 2-MONTH LOW ON MOUNTING GEOPOLITICAL CONCERNS > DOLLAR FALTERS AS IRAQ AIR STRIKE ORDER SAPS RISK APPETITE > GOLD GETS SAFE-HAVEN BOOST AS U.S. AUTHORISES AIR STRIKES IN IRAQ > METALS-COPPER DRIFTS IN LOW VOLUMES; CHINA TRADE DATA UNDERPINS > BRENT RISES TO NEAR $107 AS U.S. APPROVES AIR STRIKES ON IRAQ COMPANY NEWS: ALLIANZ Allianz headed toward record earnings in 2014 after soundly beating expectations for operating profit in the second quarter due to strong insurance sales, despite further weakness in its asset management division. TELEFONICA, TELECOM ITALIA, VIVENDI Telecom Italia is in talks with Vivendi to acquire the French media group's Brazilian broadband unit, and trump a recent bid from Spanish rival Telefonica, sources familiar with the situation said. TUI TRAVEL Europe's biggest tour operator by revenues reported a 21 percent rise in third-quarter profit and said it was on track to deliver profitable growth even as parts of the market become more competitive. GLAXOSMITHKLINE Chinese prosecutors on Friday charged a British investigator and his American wife with illegally obtaining private information in a case that is seen as key to a bribery investigation against GlaxoSmithKline. MONTE DEI PASCHI Italy's third biggest lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena posted a worse-than-expected loss in the second quarter as charges on souring loans rose, it said on Thursday. TOD'S Luxury footwear maker Tod's posted on Thursday a larger-than-expected fall in first-half revenues, hurt by weakness in the Americas and Greater China and negative currency effects. BMW The German luxury carmaker said on Friday that it would cut the prices of more than 2,000 spare parts sold in China by 20 percent on average in response to the concerns expressed by the country's anti-monopoly watchdog. GEMALTO Gemalto said on Friday it had signed a definitive agreement to buy U.S.-based data protection specialist SafeNet Inc from Vector Capital for $890 million. LUFTHANSA, AIR FRANCE, FINNAIR The European airlines Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and Finnair would be hardest hit by a potential closure of the airspace over Siberia, data from a flight tracking website shows. PARIS ORLEANS The parent of independent investment bank Rothschild posted a 46 percent rise in revenue in the first quarter of its fiscal year, helped by a jump in M&A activity in Europe this year. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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