Shell helps drag UK's FTSE from 5-month high
* FTSE 100 falls 0.5 pct, retreating off 5-month highs
* Fall at Shell takes most points off index
* Croda slumps as traders focus on uncertain outlook
* Traders cash in profits after October gains
LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Falls at oil major Shell and chemicals maker Croda helped knock Britain's benchmark equity index from 5-month highs on Thursday.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell by 0.5 percent, or 34.05 points, to 6,734.49 points in mid-session trade. The index's decline saw it end a 5-day winning streak that had pushed the market to a 5-month peak.
A 4.9 percent fall at Shell took the most points off the FTSE 100 after the company posted lower third quarter profits that undershot analysts' forecasts.
Croda also fell 6.1 percent to make it the worst performing FTSE 100 stock, as analysts and traders focused on an uncertain earnings outlook for the company.
MB Capital trading director Marcus Bullus said third-quarter results from Britain's leading companies had been mixed, and felt there was room for the FTSE to fall to 6,600 points over the next week.
"We are very high on the FTSE. There's room to come down to the 6,600 point level and lose a bit of froth. I'd be taking profits," said Bullus.
The FTSE 100 has risen some 4 percent in October, helped by expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not scale back economic stimulus measures until early 2014, and by relief over a political deal to avert a U.S. sovereign default.
The FTSE is also up 14 percent since the start of 2013, and traders said any pullback in the market would be relatively short-lived, with the FTSE rallying into the end of 2013.
Darren Easton, director of trading at Logic Investments, said he would have "short" positions to bet on further falls on the FTSE 100 down to the 6,700 point level, but then would look to buy back into the index once it fell to that mark. (additional reporting by Tricia Wright; editing by Mike Collett-White)
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