European shares edge lower, miners slip

LONDON Tue Dec 3, 2013 3:12am EST

LONDON Dec 3 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Tuesday, with miners tracking a decline in metals prices and concerns that the Federal Reserve could start reducing its stimulus sooner than expected.

However, analysts said that losses in equity prices were likely to be limited as an improving economic outlook could broadly offset any negative impact of a cut in the Fed's bond buying operations.

"Speculations that the Fed could start trimming its stimulus in December shouldn't stress equities excessively," Christian Stocker, strategist at UniCredit in Munich, said.

"The environment of a fairly good economic recovery is intact and that helps earnings estimates for the next year, which is a prerequisite for further gains in equities."

U.S. factory activity hit a 2-1/2-year high in November, while construction spending increased solidly in October, indicating the economy was gaining strength despite some fiscal headwinds.

The STOXX Europe 600 basic resources index fell 0.7 percent, the top sectoral decliner, as key metals prices fell 0.2 to 0.5 percent.

At 0808 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.1 percent at 1,299.25 points after falling 0.3 percent in the previous session.

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