* FTSEurofirst 300, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.3 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
* Autos surge, miners tumble 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 signs of economic recovery coupled with a long run of
cheap central bank money prompted investors to scoop up shares.
At 1540 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,309.77 points, set to
post a gain of around 16 percent for the year, its best annual
performance since 2009.
Around half of European share markets will be open for only
a half-day on Tuesday, the final day of 2013.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
was down 0.3 percent at 3,101.39 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.
European shares, which have enjoyed brisk investment inflows
in the second half of this year, have rallied as investor
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.
Among European sectors, the STOXX auto sector, home
of Volkswagen Renault and Michelin
, has been the best sector in 2013, set to post a gain
of 38 percent. Telecoms and media also performed
well, both up about 33 percent on the year, boosted by a wave of
Bucking the trend, the basic resources sector,
including mining groups Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
, took a beating during the year, tumbling 14 percent as
metal prices fell, including gold and copper.
Around Europe on Monday, the UK's FTSE 100 index was
down 0.5 percent, France's CAC 40 was flat, while
Spain's IBEX and Italy's FTSE MIB were both up
Germany's DAX, which closed for the year at 1300
GMT on Monday and will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
for the New Year break, ended the day down 0.4 percent after
hitting a record high of 9,594.35 points in morning trade.
The country's blue-chip index - home of bellwethers such as
Siemens and Deutsche Bank - finished the
year with a gain of 26 percent, outpacing pan-European indexes,
as investors favoured shares from the region's biggest economy.
Despite the positive sentiment following the year-end rally
in European equities, IG France Chief Market Strategist
Alexandre Baradez warned of the risk of a correction in the
first quarter of 2014.
"All the positive catalysts have been priced in already, and
the level of euphoria on the market is quite high, which is not
a good sign," he said.
"We're in for a serious correction in the next few months,
which should shake up things a little bit and bring good buying
Stock markets in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid
and Lisbon will close around midday on Tuesday, while other
European markets including Italy, Germany and Switzerland will
remain closed on Tuesday for the New Year holiday.