December 14, 2010 / 10:18 AM / 8 years ago

European shares slip on U.S. Fed meeting caution

* FTSEurofirst 300 index down 0.2 percent

* Miners slip after strong run

* Whitbread falls after trading update

* For up-to-the minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Joanne Frearson

LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - European shares slipped on Tuesday after their longest winning streak in five months as investors await the U.S. Federal Reserve Open Market Committee announcement for more signs about the economy.

By 0950 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,126.71 points after gaining for a sixth straight session on Monday as optimism about the global recovery has grown.

“There has been a little bit of a pull back in the markets,” Philip Isherwood, European equities strategist at Evolution Securities, said. “Investors are cautious ahead of the Fed as economic data has been strong since the announcement and wonder if quantitative easing is needed.

“There are also worries about the impact on inflation. It is unlikely the Fed is going to do anything to modify as early as this meeting.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve announces its interest rate decision and assessment of its bond-buying program after the European market close, with the central bank not expected to signal any shift away from its intention. [ID:nN08167483]

Miners fell as investors took profits following gains in the previous session after copper MCU3=LX touched record highs on strong Chinese macro data.

Rio Tinto (RIO.L), BHP Billiton BLT.L and Vedanta Resources VED.L were 0.3 to 1.4 percent lower. Eurasian Natural Resources ENRC.L, however, was up 0.6 percent, boosted after UBS upgraded it to “buy” from “neutral”.

Drugmakers, however, gave the market some support as investors stuck to defensive shares, with the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care .SXDP 0.3 percent higher.

Another strong mover was airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) which gained 1.8 percent after Credit Suisse upgraded the company to “outperform” from “neutral”.


Looking at individual stocks, Whitbread (WTB.L) fell 2.2 after Panmure Gordon downgraded it to “hold” from “buy”, saying it does not expect consensus expectations to be raised, even though the company reported strong profit growth this year.

“We are not expecting consensus expectations to move upwards given what seems to have been a difficult start to Q4 given the recent weather conditions and the strong comparative period,” Panmure Gordon analysts said.

TUI Travel TT.L slipped 1.3 percent as traders cited valuation grounds after its parent company TUI AG (TUIGn.DE) reported strong full year results.

The technical picture did look positive, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index getting close to becoming “overbought”. The relative strength index (RSI) hit 63 — 70 and above is considered “overbought territory”.

Later in the session, investors will look at U.S. November retail sales, due at 1330 GMT, while November producer prices are also at 1330 GMT, and October business inventories are at 1500 GMT.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 .FTSE index was down 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX .GDAXI was 0.1 percent lower and France's CAC 40 .FCHI was down 0.2 percent. (Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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