September 29, 2010 / 3:37 PM / 7 years ago

European shares slip; H&M falls on weak margins

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - European shares fell to a three-week closing low on Wednesday, with Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST) leading retailers lower after it posted a weak quarterly profit margin, and as heavyweight banks also fell.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares provisionally closed 0.5 percent lower at 1,065.20 points in the third straight session of losses.

"Markets are pausing for breath after rallying so strongly over the last few weeks. If U.S. GDP data tomorrow is weak, we could see a situation where that could be interpreted as good news because it increases the likelihood of more quantitative easing," said James Hughes, strategist at CMC Markets.

H&M shed 6.5 percent after its profit margins weakened and as concerns grew over the prospect of more cost pressures in coming months [ID:nLDE68R0V0]. The STOXX Europe 600 retail index .SXRP shed 1.4 percent.

Helping limit further losses, Beiersdorf (BEIG.DE) rose more than 10 percent, before paring gains, after Procter & Gamble's (PG.N) chief executive was quoted as saying he was interested in buying the maker of Nivea skin cream. The German firm, however, said it was not aware of P&G's interest. [ID:nLDE68S1G9] (Reporting by Harpreet Bhal)

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