European Shares Wobble Ahead of Data


European shares erased an early advance to trade flat on Friday as investors braced for a batch of U.S. economic data later in the session.

The FTSEurofirst 300 traded at 1,174.43 by 1029 GMT, having reversed from a session high of 1,180.63, with light trade at just 30 percent of the 90-day daily average exaggerating market moves.

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Investors were waiting for U.S. May inflation figures due at 1230 GMT and sentiment data at 1355 GMT which could provide fresh clues as to when the U.S. Federal Reserve, due to meet on June 18-19, might start revising its stimulus policy.

"It's just typical intra-day volatility that we've seen this week... it's all eyes on the Fed meeting next week," Matt Basi, sales trader at CMC Markets, said.

"Into that we could be swinging back and forth in the last seven days' trading pattern (from 1,197-1,154). That said, volumes are really starting to dry up now for the summer so it's not going to take a huge amount of effort to move us out of that range."

Solid U.S. data on Thursday assuaged concerns over whether the world's biggest economy could withstand a scaling back of the Fed's stimulus. Policy risk has contributed to a drop of nearly 7 percent from five-year highs hit towards the end of May.

But some investors reckon the stimulus fears were just an excuse to take profits on the index which, despite the recent sell-off, is up some 24 percent over the last year, with any winding down of stimulus likely to be a protracted affair.

"We've been through a period of technical selling," Ian Richards, head of equity strategy at Exane BNP Paribas, said. "It's probably a transitory phenomenon and as we take some of the froth out of consensus long positions ... we'll get back to focusing on fundamental appeal and that ... is pretty robust.

"Certainly our view is that there's very little risk that we're going to see (U.S. stimulus) tapering implemented this side of the summer break."

Mining shares, which are sensitive to the health of the global economy, helped stabilise the index, building on sharp gains in the previous session with a 1.3 percent advance.

Sentiment on basic resources stocks was helped as Citi lifted its rating on the sector to "overweight", citing valuation grounds, in a broader note saying it remained positive on European equities.