LONDON May 17 European equities edged off
multi-year highs on Friday, spooked by poliycmakers talking
about the possible future removal of monetary stimulus - the key
driver of the market rally - in the United States.
Three hawkish Federal Reserve officials called for the U.S.
central bank to halt bond purchases as soon as the summer,
sending Wall Street lower overnight and souring risk appetite.
With the weekend looming, the remarks gave investors an
excuse to take profits on some 9 percent of gains in European
stocks in the past month which had pushed key indexes into
However losses were seen capped by continued strong investor
appetite to buy the markets on any dips, as well as by the fact
that the end of stimulus is not yet seen as a consensus view at
the Fed and the hawkish comments have generally come from
The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.3 percent at 1,242.39 points
by 0705 GMT, retreating from the previous session's 5-year peak
of 1,247.57 but still on track for a weekly gain.
"There is a bit of profit-taking, it's no real surprise to
see the markets a bit softer ... (But) for the last few weeks,
any downtick has been bought and, if we do get some significant
fall-off today, I wouldn't be surprised to see some buyers come
in," said Vinay Sharma, trader at Gekko Capital Markets.