European shares fall after Bank of England bond-buying vote
* FTSEurofirst 300 turns negative on BOE minutes * Minutes show 9-0 vote against more bond purchases * FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 falls 0.3 pct * Equity markets stuck in tight near-term range -Citi By Sudip Kar-Gupta LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - European shares erased early gains on Wednesday after minutes from a Bank of England meeting showed all policymakers voted against extending the bank's bond purchase programme, which has helped underpin a rally in equities. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.1 percent at 1,190.21 points by 0850 GMT, tracking Britain's FTSE 100 blue-chip index which fell sharply after the minutes were released at 0830 GMT. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also turned negative, falling 0.3 percent to 2,658.23 points while Germany's DAX was also down 0.3 percent at 8,179.29 points. New Bank of England governor Mark Carney chaired his first meeting earlier this month, the minutes of which unexpectedly showed policymakers who had previously supported more bond purchases due to the weak economy said it made sense to hold fire until the central bank decided whether to provide clearer guidance on future interest rates. Charles Stanley analyst Jeremy Batstone-Carr said most analysts had expected a 6-3 split against more bond purchases under the bank's quantitative easing programme. "It's a kneejerk reaction. Everyone expected the result to be about 6-3, which is where it's been for the last few months," he said. Bond-buying programmes by the Bank of England, U.S Federal Reserve and other major central banks have hit returns on bonds, encouraging investors to switch to equities. Expectations the Fed will soon scale back its programme pushed stock markets off record highs in June. Investors will expect further clues on the Fed's future policy when chairman Ben Bernanke speaks later on Wednesday, and equity strategists at Citigroup said they see markets staying pinned in a tight range in the near term.
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