* FTSEurofirst 300 off 0.1 pct
* Persistent Ukraine tensions dampen investor sentiment
* Alstom jumps; among most shorted stocks on Paris bourse
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, April 30 European shares lost ground on
Wednesday after sharp gains in the previous session as tensions
in Ukraine continued to depress sentiment, though French
conglomerate Alstom bucked the weak market trend.
Alstom jumped 7.3 percent after saying it would
review a binding offer from General Electric for its
energy business by the end of May and left the door open for a
competing bid from Germany's Siemens.
Shares in Alstom resumed trading Wednesday having been
suspended since late last week.
According to data from Markit, 7.1 percent of Alstom shares
are out on loan, making it one of the most shorted stocks on the
Paris bourse. Short sellers have been unable to close their
positions while the stock was suspended.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.1 percent at
1,351.65 points by 0746 GMT, having jumped 1.2 percent on
Tuesday, notching up its highest close since April 4.
Investors were reluctant to place big bets ahead of the
conclusion of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting, which should
give insight into the pace of its scaling back of stimulus,
against a backdrop of persistent concerns surrounding Ukraine.
Pro-Russian separatists seized control of state buildings in
the town of Horlivka on Wednesday, tightening their grip on
swathes of Ukraine's industrial east almost unopposed by police.
"The Fed meeting should be fairly predictable, and although
sanctions against Russia earlier this week were less harsh than
expected, (the situation in Ukraine) will continue to be in the
back of the minds of investors looking to take long positions,"
Sanlam Securities head of trading Mark Ward said.
While the market dipped on Wednesday, some investors
remained upbeat partly on the basis that corporate activity
could pick up further, with the Alstom news only among the
latest in a burst of deal-making and bids seen largely in the
In another example of drugmakers trying to shed non-core
assets, Sanofi is looking to sell a portfolio of
mature drugs that could fetch between $7 billion and $8 billion,
according to people familiar with the matter. Its shares rose
"We continue to see scope for more M&A activity not only in
pharma but in other sectors also," Atif Latif, director of
trading at Guardian Stockbrokers, said.
"Europe remains range bound and although we are at the upper
end we continue to see the equity market in good shape for a
move higher," he said.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Ralph