* FTSEurofirst 300 flat, off 17-month highs
* Euro STOXX 50 up 0.3 pct, eyeing technical resistance
* Growth stocks ripe for outperformance - Natixis
By Toni Vorobyova
LONDON, Dec 4 European equity indexes closed off
multi-month highs on Tuesday, possibly pausing before a renewed
challenge on technical resistance levels into the year-end.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed flat at 1,121.25
points, failing to hold on to a 17-month intra-day high of
1,125.79 after Wall Street opened lower.
The EuroSTOXX 50 index of euro zone blue chips finished 0.3
percent higher at 2,590.83 points, just shy of the
March and September peaks and up 7 percent in 12 sessions.
"At the moment it is normal consolidation," said Petra
Kerssenbrock, technical analyst at Commerzbank.
"We had a very strong move two weeks which led us up to the
resistance in the area 2,600 to 2,611 and that is the resistance
that I am really looking at ... We could make a first attempt
this week, but I doubt that it would be successful."
Tech stocks were the worst performers on Tuesday,
after Goldman Sachs removed German chip maker Infineon
from its Pan-Europe Conviction Buy List following
strong recent share price performance.
Energy stocks also lagged, as Brent crude oil fell
below $110 on concerns about the protracted U.S. budget
negotiations to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax
Most investors expect a compromise, although markets are
likely to remain on edge until it is reached.
"It is in the interests of nobody - neither the Democrats,
nor the Republicans - to see the U.S. slumping into recession
again because politicians will be held responsible," said
Sylvain Goyon, head of equity market strategy at Natixis.
As long as a solution is found, Goyon expects European
equity markets to enjoy a strong year-end, forecasting that the
French CAC 40 index could add 4-5 percent more by then.
"Everyone who has missed the summer rally is now tempted,
especially with the year-end approaching, to bet on this asset
class," he said.
FTSEurofirst 300 has posted gains in 12 out of the last 15
Decembers in a "Santa rally" that strategists explain by
investors seeking to boost their profits for the year.
Natixis recommends playing further market gains through
"growth" stocks which can increase their earnings even a time of
economic stagnation, as seen in Europe.