European shares hit by post-ECB profit taking

LONDON, April 4 Thu Apr 4, 2013 11:34am EDT

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - European shares fell sharply on Thursday as traders, underwhelmed by the lack of fresh economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank, took profit on recent sectoral outperformers.

The ECB kept its interest rates on hold and failed to unveil any new initiative, such as special credit schemes for small enterprises, which some traders had been hoping for after recent weak economic data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index extended losses after ECB President Mario Draghi spoke in the afternoon, to end 1 percent lower at 1,181.88 points at the provisional close.

"He should show some recognition that things aren't good and he seems to be continuously wanting to pat himself on the back," Andy Ash, head of sales at Monument Securities, said.

Technology, industrial and consumer stocks , which all trade at valuation multiples higher than their 10-year average, were hit the hardest, shedding between 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent.

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

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