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European shares at 4-wk low as Fed stimulus hopes dim
LONDON Aug 30 (Reuters) - European shares hit a four-week low on Thursday to move further away from last week's 13-month highs, with expectations fading that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will signal imminent stimulus at Friday's symposium of central bankers.
However, analysts said the market was not likely to fall sharply after o speech at the meeting in Jackson Hole as investors would focus on the European Central Bank's efforts to fight the debt crisis, particularly its bond buying plans.
"People are starting to realise that there is not going to be a huge amount of action from the Jackson Hole meeting. But I don't see a massive sell-off either as the market is waiting for a positive action from the European Central Bank," James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts, said.
"The recent FOMC minutes highlighted that any kind of stimulus was very conditional on the macroeconomic situation. Since July 31, we have seen a lot of data coming in better than expected. So for that reason alone, it's less likely that we would see any significant stimulus," he said, referring to the Federal Open Market Commiittee.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares provisionally closed 0.7 percent lower at 1,079.15 points, after hitting an intra-day low of 1,075.64, the lowest since early August. Volumes were just half the 90-day daily average.
Auto shares, down 4.3 percent, were the worst performing sector, under pressure on a weakening outlook for the sector, which is struggling to maintain its sales growth globally. Daimler fell 5.4 percent.
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