European shares track Wall St lower on Fed concerns

Reuters - UK Focus

* FTSEurofirst 300 closes down 0.5 pct

* Reverses earlier gains as Wall Street opens lower

* U.S. budget deal seen opening the door for Fed taper

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - European shares eased in latetrade on Wednesday, as increased certainty over U.S. governmentspending following a budget deal there was overshadowed bygrowing expectations that a scaling back of Federal Reservestimulus is imminent.

U.S.-exposed stocks such as cement-maker Lafarge (Hamburg: CIL.HM - news)and defence contractor BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) were among thebeneficiaries after budget negotiators in Washington reached aprovisional two-year deal to avoid another government shutdown.Their shares added 2 and 2.6 percent respectively.

For the broader market, though, the implications were lessclear, with some suggesting a resolution on the budget couldpave the way for the Fed to start scaling back itsequity-friendly stimulus as soon as next week's meeting.

"It's good news, but ... as there is more evidence of suchan agreement everybody will think that the Fed will have noreason to wait more to reduce their purchases of bonds and assetbacked securities. So it's good news, but is it good enough?"said Vincent Guenzi, chief strategist at Cholet Dupont.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.5 percent at 1,256.32 pointsat the close, having given up earlier gains after WallStreet opened lower.

Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L - news) was among the top fallers inEurope with a 2.9 percent drop after its finance director,Nathan Bostock, resigned to join Santander.

The biggest boost, meanwhile, came from EADS (TLO: EAD-U.TI - news) ,which rose first on the U.S. news and then extended gains afterthe aerospace company pledged to grow its dividends andreaffirmed targets on operating profits.

"It's a top pick for me, so I am confident on the company,"Cholet Dupont's Guenzi said.

"As they reconfirmed their margin targets, I think that isvery good for the near term, and for next year. The stock is notvery expensive so I think you can still target ... 10 percentjust to regain the discount with Boeing (NYSE: BA - news) ."

EADS shares were up 7.5 percent, their biggest one-day rallyin a year and in heavy volumes three times their 90-day dailyaverage.

Activity on the broader market was more subdued, withuncertainty over Fed policy keeping many players away. At theclose, volumes for the FTSEurofirst 300 were just 82 percent oftheir daily average.

Turnover in the euro zone's blue-chip EuroSTOXX 50 was near 80 percent of its daily average, with theindex down 0.5 percent at 2,947.31 points.

The EuroSTOXX 50 has dropped 4.5 percent in December, takingit below its 50-day moving average to darken the near-termtechnical picture.

"I'm not sure that we've seen the bottom ... Last week'sclosing low, at 2,953, is now the key level and if that givesway I think we could see a retreat back to 2,900," CharlesStanley (Shenzhen: 002588.SZ - news) analyst Bill McNamara said.

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