European shares tumbled to six-month lows on Friday and braced for further losses as weak economic data from the United States and Europe cast new shadows on global economic recovery prospects.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally ended down 1.7 percent at 956.29 points, a closing level not seen since December, while the Euro STOXX 50 index of euro zone blue chips fell to an eight-month closing low of 2,071.91 points, down 2.2 percent.

Markets extended losses in the afternoon, when data showed US job growth braked sharply in May and the unemployment rate rose for the first time in nearly a year, coming on the back of a raft of soft national factory surveys in Europe published earlier on Friday.

“Today's non-farm payrolls data confirms the US economy is not heading for a strong recovery this year,” Michiel Van Cranenburgh, a director at Paris-based Neuflize Private Assets, which manages around 4 billion euros.

“We try to avoid stocks that are dependent on growth in the US or Europe because we're clearly not optimistic for the next couple of years.” - Reuters