British Land leads European shares lower after share issue

LONDON, March 12 Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:17am EDT

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Tuesday, consolidating near 4-1/2 year highs, with landlord British Land leading fallers after announcing a share issue.

Shares in the UK firm fell 2.9 percent, with brokers flagging dilution to the stock from the planned issue of nearly 90 million new shares, designed to raise funds for new investments.

It was the top faller on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was down 0.1 percent at 1,193.50 points by 0810 GMT.

Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital, said his clients were starting to take profit on top-performing indexes like Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's Dax, both close to 5-year highs, as a political stalemate in Italy cast a shadow on Europe's crisis-fighting efforts.

"The main focus is on the Dax and the FTSE because they're so elevated and I think we're going to see selling pressure on those indices," Siddiqi said, adding 90 percent of ETX's clients were "short" the Dax.

"I'd look for the FTSE to go down to 6,450".

The FTSE was flat at 6,502.23 points.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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