* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 0.1 percent
* Equity placings account for most heavily traded stocks
* Caution ahead of Ukraine, EU election results
(Adds detail, quote, updates prices)
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, May 23 French real-estate firm Gecina
bucked the trend of low volumes in European share trading on
Friday, as investors were kept cautious by an uncertain
political situation heading into a long weekend for UK equity
Gecina fell 1.8 percent in volume of twice its
90-day average after a share placing worth roughly 1 percent of
The real-estate investment trust was the most heavily traded
stock relative to its 90-day average on the FTSEurofirst 300
, which saw trade across the index at a mere 30 percent
of its average.
Mid-cap Danish jeweller Pandora fell 3.9 percent
in trade of over 15 times its average following its own share
Volumes were kept low as investors steered clear of big bets
heading into a long weekend on the UK market, the biggest stock
market in Europe, with ongoing uncertainty over elections in
Europe and Ukraine.
The EU's marathon parliamentary election, which ends on
Sunday, only affected share prices marginally, traders said.
Britain's FTSE 100 mildly underperformed, down 0.3
percent, after its anti-EU UKIP party made strong gains in local
Meanwhile, Dutch blue-chips slightly outperformed
after 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.
"Volumes are very low at the moment going into Bank Holiday
weekend. The results we have seen to date in the elections are
not a huge surprise, and have not led to any change in my view
on the markets," Neil Wilkinson, European equities fund manager
at Royal London Asset Management, said.
At 1124 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.03 percent at 1,365.83 points after
closing 0.1 percent higher in the previous session. The index
climbed to 1,372.81 on May 15, its highest since 2008.
Russian shares came under pressure as tensions were high in
Ukraine, where more than a dozen servicemen were reported killed
on Thursday in a clash with pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine
votes on Sunday in a presidential election.
Volume in Russia-exposed stocks, such as Renault,
Raiffeisen Bank and Carlsberg, was
Analysts remained positive on the market's outlook, however,
predicting that key European indexes would set new highs
following expected new European Central Bank measures to support
"Markets remain well oriented. As (the) June 5 (ECB meeting)
draws nearer, the market will start to anticipate about the
European Central Bank's likely move to loosen its monetary
policy. And that should be positive for risky assets," said
Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global
Markets in Brussels.
Analysts in a Reuters poll published on Wednesday expected
the ECB to cut its main interest rate in June and push the
deposit rate below zero in an attempt to stop the euro from
rising and inflation from falling further.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)