* FTSEurofirst 300 off 0.1 pct
* Persistent Ukraine tension weighs on sentiment
* Alstom jumps; among most shorted stocks on Paris bourse
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, April 30 European shares lost ground on
Wednesday after gaining in the previous session, as tension in
Ukraine offset reports of more corporate deal-making.
Alstom jumped 9.2 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 on Wednesday, after being
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 could not close their positions
while the stock was suspended.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.1 percent at
1,351.54 points by 1018 GMT. It had jumped 1.2 percent on
Tuesday, notching up its highest finish since April 4, when it
closed at its highest in six years.
Investors were reluctant to place big bets before the end of
the Federal Reserve's policy meeting. The meeting is expected to
provide into the scaling back of its stimulus.
They were also concerned by the situation in Urkaine, where
masked gunmen in military fatigues have taken control of swathes
of the country's industrial east largely 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.
Some investors remained upbeat, partly on the basis that
corporate activity could pick up further. The Alstom news was
only among the latest in a burst of deal-making and bids seen
largely in the healthcare sector.
In another example of drugmakers trying to shed non-core
assets, France's Sanofi is looking to sell a portfolio
of mature drugs that could fetch $7 billion to $8 billion,
according to people familiar with the matter. Its shares rose
"Despite the recent batch of mega-deals announced, this is
probably just the beginning of a long wave of mergers and
takeovers. There is a growing pressure on company managers to
put cash to work and focus on external growth, while organic
growth remains weak," said Jeanne Asseraf-Bitton, head of global
cross-asset research at Lyxor AM, which has $114 billion in
assets under management.
"In that context, we should see a rise in hostile bids, as
well as the return of leveraged deals."
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 Larry