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Carlsberg leads European shares lower after Q4 miss

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Mon, Feb 18, 2013 09:10 hrs

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.3 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.4 pct

* Carlsberg top faller after results miss, guidance scrapped

* Euro STOXX 50 edges below support, faces further falls

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - European shares continued their recent losing streak on Monday with brewer Carlsberg leading fallers after it reported forecast-lagging results.

The world's fourth biggest brewery ditched its long-term margin forecasts and reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit, sending its shares down 4.6 percent to the bottom of the FTSEurofirst 300.

The pan European index had shed 0.3 percent to take it to 1,157.58 points by 0836 GMT, adding to recent losses as a lacklustre European earnings season continued to dampen investor appetite after January's strong rally.

The selloff was broad-based, with declines in all sectorial indexes apart from media and real estate, in a sign investor sentiment about the market at large was worsening. Traders said activity was liable to be slow later on Monday with Wall Street closed for a national holiday.

The blue-chip euro zone Euro STOXX 50, down 0.4 percent to 2,606, edged below technical support at around 2,610, its 2012 top.

The index's failure to break above the 55-day moving average last week was seen as a sign of further falls to come, with a technical support level at 2,505, the 50 percent retracement of the 2011 selloff, seen as a possible target.

"The index is stuck between a rock and a hard place," Anders Soderberg, chief technical analyst at SEB Bank in Stockholm, said.

"I think we'll soon see a drop down to the 2,505 area. If it's a correction, it ends there but there's certainly a growing risk for a more profound setback, confirmed...below 2,500."

RETRACEMENT

The Euro STOXX 50 rallied 34 percent between June 2012 and the end of January, boosted by steps by global central banks to stimulate the economy and backstop the sovereign debt markets.

But the index has since fallen nearly 6 percent as some disappointing corporate results and nerves ahead of general elections in debt-laden Italy next weekend triggered some profit taking.

Among companies reporting disappointing results on Monday was Dutch mail delivery group TNT Express, which unexpectedly swung to a fourth-quarter loss, sending its shares down 1 percent in early deals before paring losses.

Around 38 percent of STOXX Europe 600 companies that have reported results so far have missed consensus forecasts, leading analysts to cut their 2013 estimates by 2.2 percent in the past 30 days, Starmine data showed.

Strategists at JPMorgan said falling earnings estimates were capping the upside for equities, with cyclical shares, which depend on economic growth and tend to show a greater correlation to the earnings cycle, as the most likely underperformers.

"After a strong start to the year, some retracement is evident," JPMorgan's strategists said in a note.

"We continue with our tactical consolidation call started three weeks ago." (Reporting By Francesco Canepa/editing by Chris Pizzey, London MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)




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