June 5, 2013 / 7:15 AM / 4 years ago

Europe equity retreat deepens on fresh Fed concerns

2 Min Read

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday, extending a retreat from multi-year highs reached last month, as fresh concerns about a possible tapering in U.S economic stimulus measures hit markets.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which hit a 5-year high of 1,258.09 points in late May, fell 0.7 percent to 1,203.41 points, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.8 percent to 2,733.56 points.

Equity markets have retreated from May peaks over the last week on mounting concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may soon scale back economic stimulus measures that have helped drive a global stock market rally this year.

Traders on Wednesday cited comments from Fed official Esther George, who said she supported slowing down the pace of bond purchases which have been a key economic stimulus measure, as the main reason for the stock market fall.

"The markets are hanging on every word of the central bankers in Europe and the U.S.," said Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths.

"Generally, the markets are looking to correct a bit more from here. The trend has turned lower. The rallies are being sold into, rather than people buying on the dip," he added.

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