European Shares Poised for First Weekly Loss Since June


European stocks were little changed early on Friday, pausing after solid gains the previous day but set for their first weekly loss in around two months on undimmed expectations of less U.S. monetary stimulus.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was flat at 1,218.95 points, putting it on course for its first weekly loss since late June.

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The index had jumped 0.9 percent on Thursday, its best session since August 1, on strong data from Germany, the United States and China, three of the world's key growth engines

The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.3 percent at 2,803.46 points and technical charts suggested the likelihood of further declines. The index was down around 1.8 percent from last Friday's close.

Expectations of less bond buying from the Federal Reserve caused a dip in the index in the early part of the week, and Wednesday minutes from the U.S. central bank's July meeting did little to change that view.

"We did see a little bit of a correction lower but, in a wider perspective, conditions, are somewhat stretched still," said Dag Muller, a technical analyst at SEB in Stockholm.

"I won't be surprised if the market tries to make it back towards last week's high (at 2,855 points on the STOXX 50) but the risk of failure up there is quite high."

Muller said a deviation of 6 percent above or below the index's 26-week exponential moving average tended to cause "overbought" and "oversold" conditions. The Euro STOXX 50 was roughly 3.5 percent above its 26-week average on Friday.

The index has risen 13 percent since late June as improving European economic data persuaded investors to switch back from emerging markets, where growth is slowing and currencies are losing ground.

According to data from Thomson Reuters Lipper, flows into European equities from U.S.-based funds hit their highest level since mid-June in the week ended August 21.

European stocks have outpaced Wall Street since late June, with the S&P 500 up 6 percent.

Shares in Commerzbank were a standout performer on Friday, rising 1.4 percent after a news report suggesting the German government could sell its 17 percent stake in the country's second biggest bank to another European lender as a way of ensuring the bank is bought by a preferred bidder.

"Investors are expecting the integration of Commerzbank into UBS," a trader said.