* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct
* Euro STOXX 50 falls 0.7 pct
* Concerns remain over tapering of Fed's stimulus measures
* Carrefour hit by HSBC downgrade
* Too risky to bet against market momentum -MB Capital
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, June 5 European shares fell on Wednesday
as fresh concerns about a possible tapering in U.S economic
stimulus measures hit markets, while a broker downgrade knocked
back supermarket retailer Carrefour.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which
touched a 5-year high of 1,258.09 points in late May, fell 0.6
percent to 1,204.44 points in mid-session trade.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also retreated by 0.7 percent to 2,737.37 points.
French group Carrefour was among the worst
performers on the FTSEurofirst 300, falling 4.6 percent which
traders attributed to HSBC's decision to cut its rating on the
stock to "underweight" from "neutral".
Equities have retreated from last month's peaks on mounting
expectations that increasing signs of a U.S. economic recovery
may lead the U.S. Federal Reserve central bank to taper stimulus
measures that have aided a stock market rally this year.
Traders cited comments from Fed official Esther George, who
said she supported slowing down the pace of bond purchases as
the main reason for the latest stock market fall on Wednesday.
MB Capital trading director Marcus Bullus said that, rather
than trying to guess what the Fed's next comments on its
monetary policy might be, he would follow the stock market
momentum as he felt this was a less risky strategy.
"I'm looking at the momentum and looking to sell into it if
the market is dropping, rather than trying to go against the
trend," he said.
Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths felt
Germany's DAX, which was down by 0.5 percent at
8,258.20 points having hit record highs of 8,557.86 points last
month, could weaken further in coming sessions to fall below the
8,000 point mark.
He added the Euro STOXX 50 could fall to 2,650 points by the
end of next week, although technical traders pointed to a
possible support level for the Euro STOXX 50 at around the 2,710
points level, which represents its 50-day simple moving average.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has risen some 6 percent since the
start of 2013 while the Euro STOXX 50 has advanced by 4 percent,
and Central Markets strategist Richard Perry said now could be a
good time to trim equity holdings to cash-in on those gains.
"With ample profits still sitting on the table, as markets
begin to slide, the temptation to lock in some profits will be
growing," he said.