LONDON Dec 11 European shares edged lower at
the open on Wednesday, led by Royal Bank of Scotland,
which slipped after a high-profile executive departure, as
uncertainty over the U.S. monetary policy curbed demand.
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland fell 1.6 percent after
finance director Nathan Bostock resigned after just 10 weeks in
the job, dealing a major blow to the group's turnaround efforts.
It was the top faller on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300
index, which was down 0.1 percent at 1,262.31 points at
Stocks were also weighed down by uncertainty over the timing
of a reduction in the Federal Reserve's equity-friendly stimulus
programme, which led investors to continue to take profits after
a solid rally in stocks this year.
The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee meets on
Tuesday and Wednesday next week. The jury is still out on
whether it will start trimming the Fed's monthly asset
purchases, which have helped the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300
rise around 16 percent since September 2012.
Investors will also focus on the Fed's future guidance for
interest rates. Eurodollar and Fed fund futures
are not fully priced for a first rate rise until late 2015.
News that budget negotiators had reached a provisional
two-year deal to avoid another U.S. government shutdown offered
some relief about public finances, but was also seen as
providing more room for the Fed to dial back its stimulus scheme