* FTSEurofirst 300 flat, Euro STOXX 50 edges 0.3 pct higher
* RSA slumps after profit warning, CEO's resignation
* FTSEurofirst set for worst fortnightly loss since June
* Weekly volumes could be thinnest since January
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Dec 13 European shares were holding at
two-month lows on Friday and are set for their worst fortnight
since June, weighed down by a decline in RSA and by concern over
the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus programme.
RSA plummeted 19 percent to an 8-1/2 year low, its biggest
one-day drop since 2002, after it warned earnings would fall in
2013 and a possible drop in dividend, leading the CEO to resign.
"People realised things weren't running completely smoothly,
but the resignation has definitely come as a surprise," Alastair
McCaig, an analyst at IG, said. "The City does like seeing
proactive steps being taken, however, and it's good that their
skeletons are out of the closet, but it's going to be turbulent
today and next week."
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was flat at
1,244.51. It has fallen 4.8 percent in the past two weeks - the
biggest two-week drop since June. The index was trading at
levels not seen since mid-October.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50, which
doesn't include British firms such as RSA, was up 0.3 percent at
2,929.21. The Euro STOXX 50 index fell in early trade, briefly
breaking below its 100-day moving average of 2,926.12, before
finding support around that level.
Phillippe Delabarre, a technical analyst at Trading Central,
said that falls in recent weeks, including a break below the
50-day simple moving average and intermediate support at 3015
points, "jeopardize the medium-term bullish dynamic."
"On the other hand, prices remain supported by the 100-day
simple moving average and above our daily stop-loss at 2850
points (May's & August's highs)."
The declines have come in light volumes, and with another
quiet session on Friday, the FTSEurofirst could see its thinnest
week of trade since the first week of January.
Traders said that uncertainty over whether the Fed would
slow its stimulus programme next week was discouraging the usual
"Santa" rally in December. Investors are locking in good
year-to-date gains instead.
The FTSEurofirst is up 9.7 percent so far this year, but
down 4.6 percent this month.
"Even if we don't see any slow-up in stimulus from the Fed,
we may be too far down on the month to recover that lost
ground," McCaig said. "But if they maintain stimulus at this
level, that could be the catalyst for gains into year end."