LONDON May 23 European shares steadied near
last week's six-year highs on Friday, with investors trading
cautiously ahead of Ukrainian and European election results.
At 0709 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was flat at 1,366.25 points after closing 0.1
percent higher in the previous session.
Investors kept a close eye on Ukraine, where more than a
dozen servicemen were reported killed on Thursday in a clash
with pro-Russian separatists, fuelling security concerns ahead
of Sunday's presidential election, seen as crucial for its
The EU's marathon parliamentary election was also in focus.
Polling kicked off on Thursday when Britain and the Netherlands
voted, with right-wing, anti-EU parties expected to attract a
surge of protest votes in many countries.
Britain's anti-EU UKIP party made strong gains in local
elections, according to early results on Friday, while a Dutch
exit poll for the EU elections indicated that the anti-Islam,
Eurosceptic Freedom Party had fallen well short of its goal of
topping the poll.
Analysts said there were concerns the EU elections could
destabilise some euro zone governments at home. In Italy, for
example, a poor result for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's party
could weaken his drive for swift reforms that he promised when
he took power.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Lionel Laurent)