* FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX 50 edge up 0.1 pct
* Ericsson and Dassault Systemes fall, hitting tech sector
* U.S. stalemate keeps European equity indexes in check
* Most investors still expect eventual U.S. debt deal
* VSTOXX volatility index rises 10.4 pct
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Oct 14 European shares made minor gains
on Monday as a U.S. budget deadlock kept stock markets in check,
while falls in Ericsson and Dassault Systemes
hit technology shares.
Longer-term investors bet that the broader European equity
rally remained intact, predicting an eventual deal to fix the
U.S. stalemate, although others cautioned that markets would be
volatile in the near-term.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up
0.1 percent to 1,252.47 points, while the euro zone's Euro STOXX
50 index marked a fresh 2-1/2 year high by also
creeping up by 0.1 percent to 2,977.69 points.
The STOXX Europe 600 Technology Index was the
worst-performing European equity sector, falling 0.9 percent
after being dragged lower by a 2.1 percent drop at wireless
networks group Ericsson and a 10.5 percent slump at Dassault
Ericsson was hit by a ratings downgrade by Barclays, while
Dassault, a software and consulting group, fell after warning
that lower-than-expected orders would hit revenue growth.
Gains on European equities were also held back by continuing
stalemate in Washington over a new federal budget or raising the
$16.7 trillion U.S. debt ceiling, which Treasury Secretary Jack
Lew said the government would hit no later than Oct. 17.
Cyrille Urfer, head of asset allocation at Swiss bank Gonet,
remained optimistic that politicians would reach a deal to
raise the U.S. debt ceiling, which would in turn give another
leg-up to European shares.
"I cannot believe that they will not find a solution. At the
least, they can push the can down the road again for a couple of
months," he said.
"There will be volatility, but volatility means
opportunities and Europe has been an interesting place to invest
over the last couple of months."
Worries about the near-term uncertainty over the U.S.
situation were reflected in a 10.4 percent rise in the Euro
STOXX 50 Volatility Index, often referred to as the
Trading volumes also came in below average, with volumes on
the FTSEurofirst 300 standing at 74 percent of the index's usual
90-day average amount, as some investors chose to stay on the
Even though most investors expect an eventual resolution,
some have used the uncertainty to sell shares to cash in on the
rally so far this year, with the FTSEurofirst 300 up 11 percent
since the start of 2013 and the Euro STOXX 50 up 13 percent.
Andrea Williams, European equity fund manager at Royal
London Asset Management, said she had trimmed back some equity
holdings over the last month.
She added that revenue and profit warnings from the likes of
Dassault Systemes and Unilever were a further reason to
have sold off some equity positions.
"We've raised a bit of cash. We're a little bit concerned
about the forthcoming results season, as shown by the Dassault
Systemes warning today," said Williams.