* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.3 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.1 pct
* Novo Nordisk hits U.S. hurdle, Sanofi rallies
* Ahold boosted by ICA stake sale
* Full-year trend remains up
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, Feb 11 European shares dipped on Monday
as sharp falls in pharma group Novo Nordisk
outweighed rallies in rival Sanofi and Dutch retailer
Shares in Novo Nordisk fell 12 percent in volume nearly 5
times their average for the past 90 days as U.S. regulators
requested additional tests on the firm's new insulin drugs, in a
move that could delay approval by some years..
The stock knocked 1.7 points off the FTSEurofirst 300, which
was down 3.9 points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,158.93 points at 1136
Rival Sanofi rallied 4.3 percent as its own
insulin drugs would not face competition from Novo Nordisk's
Ahold was also up 4.3 percent to 11.1 euros, after the
retailer sold its 60 percent stake in Swedish supermarket chain
ICA for about $1.3 billion dollars, close to the high end of
analysts' price range.
Shares in the Dutch group were breaking technical resistance
at their 2012-13 top and heading for a test of their 2007 high
at 11.4 euros.
"Ahold was dead money for 5 years, but it should start to
see some momentum building from here," a senior trader in London
said. "The consolidation will be complete once we get through
the 2007 top."
Technical charts on the euro zone Euro STOXX 50
index, up 0.1 pct at 2,633.03 points, also pointed to some
upside in the coming weeks after a 4 percent drop in the
previous ten sessions.
The index closed above its 200-week moving average at 2,616
on Friday and above a top tested twice in 2012 at 2,611.
Valerie Gastaldy, head of Paris-based technical analysis
firm Day-By-day, expected the index to make a new high for the
year at around 2,790 points in the next few weeks, adding any
dip towards 2,611 in the meantime could be a buying opportunity.
The Euro STOXX 50 has come under pressure in the past two
weeks as a corruption scandal stirred fears of political
instability in Spain and the Italian election race became
tighter, fuelling some profit-taking after a 37 percent rally
Europe equity funds recorded modest outflows in the week
ending Feb. 6, EPFR Global data showed, and net inflows into
U.S. funds invested in European equities slowed markedly.
"Investors took a pause from the recent strong buying, but
sold only an insignificant $200 million from European equity
mutual funds," Nomura's research analyst Mark Diver said in a
"Our European equity mutual flow indicator ... is just shy
of the 2-year peak in sentiment reached last week."
He added Nomura's flow-based indicator showed mutual fund
investors are now at their most optimistic in the index's
10-year history, apart from two periods between February and
March 2000 and April to May 2006, which were followed by market
declines in the following weeks.
But fund managers expect the rotation into higher-yielding
assets to continue as the global economic picture improves,
helping equities resume their rally after a small pullback.
The MSCI Euro zone index offered prospective returns this
year roughly 9 percent higher than Germany's 10-year sovereign
bond, Thomson Reuters Datastream data showed.
The European earnings season has so far been mixed. With a
quarter of it gone, 40 percent of companies in the STOXX 600
Europe index that have reported have missed consensus
estimates, Thomson Reuters Starmine data showed.