* FTSEurofirst 300 slips lower for 2nd day in a row
* Weaker chemical stocks weigh on FTSEurofirst 300
* FTSEurofirst 300 and ESTOXX 50 down 0.4 pct
* Use weakness to buy stocks on dip - Psigma Invt Management
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 12 European shares fell for the
second consecutive session on Thursday, dented by weaker
pharmaceutical stocks and lingering uncertainty over when the
U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back economic stimulus measures.
However, several traders said that while they saw European
equity markets making little headway before the Fed's meeting
next week, they did expect some recovery towards the end of
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which fell
0.7 percent on Wednesday, declined by 0.4 percent to 1,251.73
points in early morning trading.
A 0.7 percent fall at pharmaceuticals group Roche
and a 0.1 percent decline at its rival Novartis took
the most points off the FTSEurofirst 300 index, as Barclays
equity strategists cited some concerns over overcrowded research
pipelines in the sector.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
fell 0.4 percent to 2,936.27 points while the pan-European STOXX
600 index slipped 0.4 percent to 312.03.
Germany's DAX, which has hit record highs this
year, fell 0.5 percent to 9,028.25 points. The FTSEurofirst 300
remains up by around 10 percent since the start of 2013 while
the DAX is up by around 19 percent.
Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets
Investment Management, said some investors would use uncertainty
over the timing of the Fed's expected scaling back of its
economic stimulus programme - known as quantitative easing (QE)
- to trim back equities in order to book profits on the rally so
However, he felt European equity markets would then recover
in the final two weeks of December.
"I think this sell-off is just profit-taking. There may be a
flurry of nerves going into next week, but after I think we
close the year higher," said Courtney-Cook.
RECOVERY AFTER DECEMBER FED MEETING?
Courtney-Cook expected the DAX index to end 2013 in
the 9,100-9,200 point range, and the Euro STOXX 50 around the
Tim Gregory, chief investment officer at Psigma Investment
Management, said he would use any weakness in the global equity
markets over the coming week to buy up stocks for relatively
"We think there is a chance that Fed tapering will begin
next week. However, whether it is December, January or March is
less important than the fact that the Fed feels able to make a
start on withdrawing QE," said Gregory.
"Equities remain our asset class of choice on a five-year
view so we would prefer to adopt a strategy of buying dips over
selling rallies," he added.