* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.2 pct
* Last full session of the year
* FTSEurofirst 300 set to gain 16 pct in 2013
* Euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 set to gain 18 pct in 2013
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Dec 30 European stock indexes stayed on
track on Monday to post their biggest annual gains in four years
after a long run of cheap central bank money and a strengthening
economic recovery prompted investors to scoop up shares.
At 1200 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,311.52 points, set to
post a gain of 16 percent for the year, its best annual
performance since 2009.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
was down 0.2 percent at 3,103.32 points, poised to report a gain
of 18 percent for the year, also its strongest performance since
"This year has seen the renaissance of equities as the
financial crisis ended. Next year should see the end of the
economic crisis, and it should bring more opportunities for
stock investors," said David Thebault, head of quantitative
sales trading at Global Equities in Paris.
Around Europe on Monday, UK's FTSE 100 index was
down 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX index down 0.1 percent,
and France's CAC 40 down 0.1 percent.
The DAX, closing the year at 1300 GMT on Monday, has
outperformed other regional benchmarks in 2013, rising 26
percent and hitting a record high of 9,594.35 points on Monday.
European equities, which have enjoyed brisk investment
inflows in the second part of the year, have rallied as
investors' worries over Spain and Italy abated, Europe's
macroeconomic indicators improved, and the European Central Bank
and the U.S. Federal Reserve provided massive liquidity.
Earlier this month, the Fed announced that it would slightly
trim its unprecedented monetary easing programme, but investors
took heart in stronger U.S. economic data and a commitment from
the Fed to keep interest rates low for longer.
"Even if the fundamentals aren't looking great yet, central
banks remain easy (on policy) for the time being, despite (Fed
tapering)," Gerard Lane, equity strategist at Shore Capital,
Among European sectors, the STOXX auto sector, home
of BMW, Volkswagen and Renault, is
set to post the best annual performance, up 38 percent.
Bucking the trend, the STOXX basic resources sector,
home of mining groups Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
, took a beating during the year, down 14 percent,
falling along with metal prices such as gold and copper.