European shares below peaks, look to data for boost

LONDON, March 13 Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:05am EDT

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - European equities edged lower on Wednesday, weighed down by a string of weak earnings reports and with investors looking to economic data to back the rally in key stock indexes to multi-year highs.

A subdued showing on Wall Street overnight - where the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped off a record high to close flat after seven straight sessions of gains - and a sell off in Tokyo added to the cautious mood in Europe.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.1 percent at 1,193.35 points by 0801 GMT, edging further away from a 4-1/2 year peak of 1,197.73 points set at the end of last week.

"People are pausing for thought, waiting to see if the growth story is there," said Neil Marsh, strategist at Newedge.

"It's a bit of a pause, hoping that the data is going to continue showing some positive trends and, if it does, I think we will continue back up."

Euro zone industrial production and U.S. retail sales are due on Wednesday, followed by U.S. producer prices on Thursday.

Among individual stocks, Addecco, G4S and Inditex led the fallers after reporting results.