* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, retreats from 6-year high
* Media stocks lead fallers as Mediaset, ITV disappoint
* Portugal stocks sag; talk of capital hike hitting banks
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, May 14 European shares paused on
Wednesday as some weak corporate updates, especially in the
media sector, led investors to seek a pause in a two month-rally
propelling many regional indexes to multi-year highs.
The STOXX Europe 600 media index fell 1.2 percent,
the worst performer among sector indexes, as disappointing
results by broadcasters ITV and Mediaset cast a
shadow on a strong reporting season so far for the industry.
Around 67 percent of media companies in the STOXX Europe 600
index that reported results through May 13 met or beat consensus
estimates, compared to 49 percent for the index as a whole,
StarMine data showed.
Shares in ITV, which will broadcast the World Cup finals in
June, had risen 5 percent over the previous two weeks,
suggesting investor expectations going into the results were
"The market was looking for a set of numbers that would
allow for upgrades to consensus forecasts and they did not get
that today," David Reynolds, an analyst at Jefferies & Company,
At 1440 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,366.93 points, after
climbing to a six-year high in the previous session.
Germany's DAX was flat, hovering below a record
high it reached in January.
European stocks had been lifted by expectations the European
Central Bank would take new steps to keep inflation from staying
too low. The FTSEurofirst 300 rose some 7 percent from lows in
Portugal's PSI index fell 3 percent, led lower by banking
stocks after a report said Millennium bcp was
considering a capital increase.
A spokesman for the bank, Portugal's largest private lender,
said on Wednesday it has made no decision about a possible
Shares in Millennium were down 9.3 percent. Banco Espirito
Santo lost 7.7 percent.
The PSI 20 had outperformed broad European indexes in the
first four months of the year, rising as much as 19 percent as
the Portuguese bond yields dropped and investor confidence in
the country improved.
But Portuguese stocks started to fall in mid-April, and the
PSI 20 hit a near three-month low on Wednesday.
A number of traders said the recent rally could run out of
steam as investors look for an opportunity to cash in on that
rise. Peripheral euro zone markets, including Italy and
Portugal, are already seeing a round of profit taking this week
after outperforming since the start of the year.
"For me, it's overdone here, and there's a pullback coming,"
said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets
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 and Alexandre
Boksenbaum-Granier in Paris; Sudip Kar-Gupta in London; Editing
by Tom Heneghan)