European shares waver ahead of knife-edge US elections

LONDON Mon Nov 5, 2012 3:08am EST

LONDON Nov 5 (Reuters) - European stocks edged lower in cautious trade on Monday as investors opted for safer havens ahead of the upcoming too-close-to-call presidential election in the United States.

By 0802 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 shed 4.6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,110.59, with investors hedging their bets after the index rose 1.6 percent last week, nearing the top of the recent trading range around 1,120.

"Tuesday's U.S. presidential election dominates the week's events," Ian Williams, strategist at Peel Hunt, said.

"Re-election for Obama may be priced into the markets, as is some prospect of a compromise to delay the impact of the 'fiscal cliff'; with the Republicans retaining control of the House - although the outcome is not yet certain," he said.

Evidence investors were looking for protection ahead of the election came as the dollar index touched its highest level since central banks acted to support the global financial system in early September.

Among equities, food and beverage and healthcare outperformed broader market falls.

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