European shares fall after Bank of England bond-buying vote

Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:28am EDT

* 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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