* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct after U.S. jobs report
* Santander slides after capital increase, dividend cut
* Euro zone banks fall as ECB stimulus optimism cools
By Francesco Canepa and Lionel Laurent
LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - European shares trimmed losses on Friday after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data, although heavy falls in euro zone banks, led by Spain’s Santander , kept the main indexes under pressure.
Shares in companies that export to the United States, such as auto maker Fiat Chrysler, or are exposed to the global economic cycle, such as construction firms, were among top gainers after the U.S. non-farm payrolls data.
U.S. job growth increased briskly in December, further strengthening the economy’s fundamentals. A 5 cent drop in average hourly earnings, while taking some shine off the report, was seen as reducing the pressure for a Federal Reserve interest rate increase, which traders expect in September.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.2 percent at 1,365.02 points, having traded as low as 1,358.53 before the data was released.
“If you’re at all nervous about the U.S. economy, in terms of its effect on trading partners in Germany and the like, the answer is unquestionably at this point that it is doing just fine,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG.
“The wage data ... should make the Fed a bit more comfortable.”
Euro zone banks, down 2.9 percent, continued to weigh as expectations of a bond-buying programme from the European Central Bank cooled and heavyweight Santander slid over 10 percent after announcing a capital increase and dividend cut.
Traders said the discounted price of Santander’s capital increase had hurt the stock, though some analysts said the move would pay off.
“This was a needed capital rebuild that addresses a known issue,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note to clients.
The broader sector was under pressure as sources close to the discussions told Reuters that an ECB bond-buying programme may see national central banks buy some of the bonds, and set a ballpark figure for the overall size of the programme at 500 billion euros ($590 billion).
European bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up ($1 = 0.8485 euros) (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Kevin Liffey)