European shares fell on Monday as worries about global growth intensified after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could mean instability in the region, while a warning from Fitch about possible credit downgrades also hit investment sentiment.

Cyclical oil stocks which perform better when economic growth is strong were among the biggest losers, with the STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas index <.SXEP> down 0.8 percent.

It is a shorters market and not much real long-term investing, Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said. I think it is going to be a negative week with very thin volumes.

Everyone is talking about North Korea and the uncertainties, while Fitch had quite strong words in its statement. It does not look like anything is going to be solved in Europe until it is right on the brink.

By 8:05 a.m., the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares was down 0.4 percent at 952.96 points after falling 0.5 percent on Friday as rumours circulated about fresh corporate or sovereign credit rating downgrades on the weekend.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson)