* FTSEurofirst 300, STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2 pct
* STOXX 600 extends longest monthly streak since 1997
* Weak U.S. business activity data triggers profit taking
* Banks rally after UBS, Deutsche Bank's results
* ECB rate to boost shares - JPM AM
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, April 30 European shares slipped on
Tuesday following some poor U.S. economic data but still ended
the month in positive territory for the longest monthly winning
streak since 1997.
April was the 11th straight monthly gain for the broad STOXX
Europe 600 index. It ended the day down 0.2 percent at
296.72 points, edging off a 4-1/2 year high hit during the day.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European shares
fell 0.2 percent to 1,200.60 points.
Data showed business activity in the U.S. Midwest
unexpectedly shrank to its lowest level since September 2009,
denting investor sentiment because of its implications for
global economic growth.
"It was another pretty bad set of data and it just feels the
market is just struggling on volumes and impetus," Andy Ash,
head of sales at Monument Securities, said. "People are
considering how strong the market has been."
He suggested that if the market started to pull back from
its recent gains, losses could be more than 5 percent.
Banking stocks helped curb losses on equity indexes
after UBS and Deutsche Bank reported better
first-quarter results than anticipated.
Their shares rose 5.7 percent and 6.1 percent in volume
roughly four times their 90-day average.
BP gained 2.1 percent after an impressive performance
in the oil major's trading division lifted profits.
Economic data from the euro zone published on Tuesday was
weak and traders said European equities may need more dovish
messages from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central
Bank later this week if stocks are to keep up the rally.
Inflation in the euro zone has fallen to a three-year low
and unemployment has hit a new record, cementing expectations of
an interest rate cut by the ECB on Thursday.
"I still think markets would go up if we did see a rate cut
and we've seen some weak economic data to justify that," said
Tom Elliot, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset
Management, who attached a 50 percent chance to a rate cut.
He had a positive view on European shares over the next six
months, saying the asset class should continue to attract
investors looking for higher yield than safe government bonds.
The STOXX 600 offers a 3.6 percent dividend yield on its
2013 earnings, compared with a 1.2 percent yield on Germany's
10-year government bond, Thomson Reuters data showed.