* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5 pct
* Fresenius, FMC both tank after update
* CAC, FTSE retreat from multi-year highs
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Feb 25 European shares pulled back on
Tuesday from three weeks of sharp gains, as weakness in medical
group Fresenius weighed on German stocks and many regional
indexes edged off multi-year highs.
Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) fell 6.9 percent
after it unexpectedly forecast another decline in profit for
2014 amid budget cuts to healthcare from the United States.
Shares in Fresenius, which controls FMC, fell 6.7
The two stocks accounted for more than half the drop of 0.3
percent on the German DAX, which otherwise would have
Data showed that foreign trade growth had driven Europe's
largest economy in the fourth quarter.
While the headline 0.4 percent increase in gross domestic
product was a confirmation of an earlier flash number, the
pick-up in foreign trade, which had been weak in 2013, was
encouraging, traders said, while weakening domestic demand left
room for further policy easing by the European Central Bank.
"Consumer demand inside Germany goes a long way to helping
the inflationary environment of the EU, and we've reverted to a
relatively unenthusiastic spender inside of Germany," Alastair
McCaig, analyst at IG, said.
"It's more likely that we'll get more stimulus (from the
ECB) if Germany also needs to boost consumption demand."
The DAX was one of the only major European indexes not to
have hit multi-year highs on Monday.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst was down 0.5 percent at
1,345.96 on Tuesday, having gained 6.4 percent in the last 14
sessions to leave it at a six-year closing high on Monday and
substantially overbought, with a 9-day relative strength
indicator reading of 92.
If a market has an RSI above 70, it indicates it is
technically "overbought" while under 30 shows it is technically
The French CAC and British FTSE 100 closed
Monday at 5-1/2 and fourteen-year highs respectively, well into
The French index fell 0.5 percent on Tuesday. Leading it
lower was telecoms group Vivendi, which fell 2.1
percent after delivering in-line results but failing to outline
any detail on its outlook for the coming year.
"The company did not provide any guidance for any of its
business units and made no announcement on 2013 dividend, which
in light of the possible spin-off of SFR from the group is not
totally surprising but it could pave the way for some slight
disappointment in terms of market reaction," Espirito Santo
analysts said in a note.
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Asset performance in 2014:
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