Tech sector tumble weighs on European shares and DAX

Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:06pm EST

* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.04 pct at 1,160.22 points

* Germany's DAX falls to 2013 closing low as SAP slides

* Euro STOXX 50 falls 0.5 pct to 2,701.59 points

* Many traders bullish on equities, eye "buying on dip"

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A fall in technology stocks weighed on European shares and sent Germany's benchmark DAX index to a 2013 low on Tuesday, after weak results from software company SAP.

However, some traders said the dip would be a short-lived one and bet on equities rising gradually over the first quarter, helped by prospects of an improvement in the global economy.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.5 percent to 2,701.59 points, although the broader pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed in slightly positive territory at 1,160.22 points.

SAP fell 3.9 percent after posting revenues below forecasts, contributing to the DAX declining by 0.7 percent to 7,675.91 points - its worst close since the start of 2013.

SAP's decline took the most points off the Euro STOXX 50 and hit the STOXX Europe 600 technology index, which fell 2.1 percent to make it the region's worst-performing equity sector.

Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu felt the DAX could retreat in the near term and had sold bullish "call" options, which are typically used to bet on a market rise, on the index.

"I sold some 'calls' on the DAX last week because I think the market looks overbought and needs to consolidate," he said.

BULLISH MEDIUM-TERM

Equities rallied in the second half of 2012, helped by pledges by the European Central Bank (ECB) to tackle the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.

Some analysts have said European markets may trade within a tight range during the first quarter, with investors wary of adding to new positions due to uncertainty over Italian elections in February while others book profits on the back of last year's gains.

However, many were upbeat on the prospects for equities in 2013, with most forecasters pencilling in gains for European stock markets over the course of the year.

"We remain confident on equities. We are not afraid of the correction that could happen in the short-term," said Didier Duret, chief investment officer of ABN AMRO private bank.

Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths recommended investors used days when the market fell to "buy on the dip" to pick up stocks at relatively cheap prices.

He added that the Euro STOXX 50 March futures contract , which was down 0.2 percent at 2,707 points, could rise to 2,750 points by the end of January.

"I expect the market to go up a little bit more in the next few days," he said.