* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.6 pct
* Stocks with big exposure to Russia under renewed pressure
* U.S. investors continue to pour money into Europe -Lipper
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, March 7 European shares slipped in early
trade on Friday as investors were wary of the risks of another
escalation in tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the
Shares of companies most exposed to Russia were among the
biggest losers. Investors also avoided taking fresh bets ahead
of U.S. jobs data due later in the day that will provide insight
on the state of the world's biggest economy and could influence
the Federal Reserve's policy outlook.
At 0847 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.6 percent at 1,336.63 points. After
taking a hit on Monday, the index reversed most of the selloff
that was sparked by an escalation in tensions between Ukraine
"Stocks have been yo-yoing this week, and indexes are back
to near multi-year high levels, so it's tempting to cash in a
bit of profits in case things flare up again in Ukraine during
the weekend," Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni said.
After diplomatic efforts to cool the crisis in Ukraine
calmed markets over the past few days, tensions were rising
again, with U.S. President Barack Obama unveiling sanctions
against Russia, ordering visa bans and asset freezes against so
far unidentified persons deemed responsible for threatening
Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed the warning from
Obama on Friday, saying that Russia could not ignore calls for
help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.
Shares in European blue chips with the biggest exposure to
Russia featured among the biggest losers on Friday, with Finnish
tyre maker Nokian Renkaat down 1.8 percent, Danish
brewer Carlsberg losing 1.2 percent and Austrian
lender Raiffeisen Bank International shedding 2
The three companies derive 26 percent, 17 percent and 22
percent respectively of their overall revenues from Russia,
according to data from MSCI.
Investors were also reluctant to make fresh bets ahead of
U.S. monthly jobs data.
Non-farm payrolls are forecast to have risen by 149,000 in
February, up from the weather-depressed gains of 113,000 in
January. Analysts said expectations may have been lowered by the
soft ADP private-sector jobs report and ISM services sector
survey released earlier this week.
"A disappointing number will be neglected by investors as
February was still adversely impacted by winter weather," said
Ruland Research analyst Heino Ruland.
"In the near term, I am quite bullish for equities. It
becomes clearer by the day that growth resumed in the euro area,
even though below potential growth, which means that interest
rates will begin rising but stay comparatively low, thereby
increasing the relative attractiveness of equity valuations."
Despite Monday's selloff in stocks triggered by the
escalation in the Ukraine crisis, U.S. investors' appetite for
European stocks remained brisk.
A poll by Thomson Reuters Lipper of 103 U.S.-based funds
invested in European equities, which include exchange-traded
funds' (ETFs) holdings, shows the funds added $468 million into
European equities in the seven-day period to March 5th. That
marked a 36th straight week of net inflows and a sharp contrast
with further big outflows from emerging markets funds.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
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