LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on
Friday, impacted by weaker bank and mining stocks, and traders
expected equities to stay trapped in a tight range this month
with uncertainty over Italian elections denting sentiment.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
provisionally closed down 0.2 percent at 1,169.21 points while
the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell
0.6 percent to 2,617.45 points.
The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index, which
includes mining stocks, was the worst-performing equity sector
as it fell 1.8 percent on fresh signs of an economic slowdown in
China, which is the world's biggest metals consumer.
The STOXX Europe 600 Banking index also retreated
1.2 percent, with British bank Lloyds falling 2.7
percent after setting aside 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) to
compensate customers who were mis-sold loan insurance.
Rupert Baker, a European equity sales executive for Mirabaud
Securities, expected stock markets to be rangebound in March
before then resuming an upwards trajectory in April.
"March is normally rangebound before it improves for another
push higher in April," he said, adding that investors were still
buying shares on days when the market fell due to expectations
of a gradual rally on equities over the course of 2013.
"Are we still buyers on the dip? Yes, more or less."