Tuesday, December 14, 2010

European shares snap winning streak; Fed eyed

LONDON:'' European shares slipped on Tuesday, Dec 14 after making 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 0814 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,128.27 points after gaining for a sixth straight session on Monday as optimism about the global recovery has grown.

"Markets have been breaking out into a higher range and now consolidating," Bernard McAlinden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers in Dublin, said. "Investors are awaiting for the Fed for clues about the economy."

Miners fell as investors took profits following gains in the previous session after copper touched record highs on strong Chinese macro data. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Vedanta Resources were 0.6 to 0.7 percent lower.

Utilities gave the market some support as investors stuck to defensive shares, with the STOXX Europe 600 utilities index 0.4 percent higher.

In HONG KONG, Hong Kong stocks extended gains on Tuesday, with energy counters tracking commodity prices higher on the back of a weakening U.S. dollar and growing optimism about the global economy heading into 2011.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index <.HSI> closed up 0.49 percent at 23,431.19, but overall turnover on the exchange fell to the lowest in nearly 3-'' months, suggesting investors were reluctant to build large position.

In TOKYO, Japan's Nikkei average edged up 0.2 percent Tuesday, posting a seven-month closing high for a second day as upbeat Chinese economic data encouraged buying of commodity stocks and CONSTRUCTION [] equipment makers.

Buying by overseas investors, who picked up stocks in the brokerage sector, also fuelled the rise. Foreign funds have been aggressively buying lagging Tokyo shares, pushing the Nikkei up more than 12 percent over the past six weeks.

"We're still seeing foreign buying and it will probably last for another few weeks," said Tsuyoshi Kawata, a senior strategist at Nikko Cordial Securities, adding that volume may fall a bit around Christmas when foreign investors will likely be away for the holidays.

He said the Nikkei may continue its gains, but resistance would keep it pegged at around 10,500 by the end of the year.

Analysts believe the government is poised to cut Japan's corporate tax rate by 5 percentage points as demanded by business leaders to achieve its growth strategy, and such a move could help boost the competitiveness of Japanese companies. - Reuters

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