European shares edge down on Spain, growth concerns
* FTSEurofirst down 0.1 percent * Investors cut exposure to banks and miners * PMIs highlight bleak economic outlook * Gecina falls as 2 owners file for bankruptcy By David Brett LONDON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Wednesday on concerns about Spain, the focal point of the regional debt crisis, and slowing global growth, with indexes keeping to recent tight trading ranges. The FTSEurofirst closed down 1.05 points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,100.84 as the index remained locked in a 30-point range established in mid-September, when the European summer rally on the back of central bank stimulus came to a halt. The onus is now on politicians to follow the leads set by central banks. As the market waits for Spain to request a bailout, investors have remained reluctant to commit further to equities. "The reality is the Spanish situation is still problematic, and until (Prime Minister) Mariano Rajoy goes and asks for the bailout, they can not activate the bond-buying programme, so we are all just waiting," Andrea Williams, European fund manager at Royal London Asset Management, said. Williams has been cutting her exposure to euro zone banks, given the weak growth outlook. "There is a sense that focus is now back on the politicians and the macro picture, which is not getting any easier," she said. French property company Gecina slipped 4.6 percent after two Spanish investment firms that own 31 percent filed one of the biggest bankruptcy actions in Spain's history after they failed to get refinancing for a 1.6 billion euro ($2.1 billion) loan. Investors continued to reduce exposure to banks, which have fallen 3 percent over the past five days. Miners fell too, hamstrung by global growth worries. The latest global purchasing managers indexes (PMIs) suggested aggressive actions taken by central banks over the last two months have yet to convince consumers to start spending again. U.S. data showed that the pace of growth in the services sector picked up in September as new orders accelerated, though employment, a vital component to a sustained recovery, cooled. MACRO BLUES The reluctance of consumers and corporations to start spending was reflected in company updates. Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco, shed 2.6 percent as it paid the price for halting its declining sales with a drop in profits of more than 10 percent in the first half, the first decline in 20 years. French peer Carrefour fell 1.4 percent. Support and outsourcing service provider Capita shed 1.6 percent in heavy trading volumes as revenues took a knock after the company lost a contract with the British government. Energy shares were among the top losers, falling along with oil prices on mounting worries over global demand, with Total down 0.8 percent and Repsol down 0.9 percent. Around Europe, the major indexes such as the UK's FTSE 100 index and Germany's DAX index were little changed, stuck in their recent ranges, while Spain's IBEX fell 0.5 percent. The blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index was flat at 2,492.48 points, slipping back below a key support level at 2,495.66 - the 23.6 percent Fibonacci retracement of the 'Draghi effect' rally started in late July. "A downward channel is taking shape," Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier said. "The index could retrace another 4 to 5 percent of the summer rally. We have a 'reduce' recommendation on the short term, and people should take advantage of the technical rebounds," he said.
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