* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.1 pct
* Weak start on Wall St provides no boost for euro shares
* Tenaris, Vallourec pummelled by U.S. import tariff ruling
* Carlsberg, Lafarge shrug off EM hit with strong updates
By Alistair Smout and Joshua Franklin
LONDON, Feb 19 European shares edged lower on
Wednesday, led by Italy's Tenaris as a U.S. tariff ruling hurt
the region's steel pipe industry, although buoyant updates from
brewer Carlsberg and Lafarge helped limit market losses.
The FTSEurofirst 300 opened slightly higher, but gave away
gains as the session went on, unable to mount a recovery as
caution ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve minutes and weak
housing data prompted falls in U.S. stocks.
"The weaker housing market data coming out of the U.S. could
indicate towards a prolonged slowdown of momentum," Kash Kamal,
research analyst at Sucden Financial, said.
"European equities will take the lead from Wall Street and
if today's (Fed) meeting minutes fail to provide the necessary
reassurance we could see a subsequent pull back."
Seamless steel tube maker Tenaris fell 6.4 percent
to the bottom of the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300
index after U.S. trade authorities decided not to impose tariffs
on South Korean imports of oil and gas pipe. French peer
Vallourec fell 4.6 percent.
Tenaris and Vallourec, which respectively generate 49
percent and 29 percent of their sales in North America, had
signed a petition complaining that manufacturers in South Korea
and other countries were selling pipe in the United States at
unfairly low prices.
"Many people in the market were thinking that the key for
improving the pricing power would be some reduction in the
imports coming from South Korea," said Julien Laurent, energy
equity analyst at Natixis.
"I assume that the consensus will have to downgrade its
estimates (of future earnings per share) a bit. I would say for
Tenaris it would be more than 5 percent."
The Italian blue-chip FTSE MIB underperformed peers
even as optimism over a new government kept yields at 8 year
lows, with the drop in Tenaris accounting for half of its
At 1455 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European
shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,335.38 points, while the euro
zone Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.1 percent at
Both indexes were retreating from overbought territory based
on their seven-day Relative Strength Index, a momentum
indicator, after rising for eight of the last 10 sessions.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has gained roughly 5 percent over the
past two weeks.
"The indices right now are somewhat toppish and we're
looking for a short-term reversal, possibly before the end of
the week," Valerie Gastaldy, head of technical analysis firm
Day-By-Day, said, adding that the Euro Stoxx 50 could hit 3,050
"(It's) not necessarily that deep but we had a very steep
Better earnings news helped to support the market. Shares in
Carlsberg surged 6.3 percent as the world's fourth
largest brewer raised its dividend by a third thanks to growth
in Western Europe and Asia offsetting sluggish sales in Russia,
where the economy is slowing.
Lafarge, which derives 58 percent of its sales
from emerging markets, confirmed its targets despite a hit from
volatile currencies in the fourth quarter, betting on continued
growth in emerging markets and a recovery in North America and
Europe. Its shares rose 3.1 percent.