* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct
* Britain's FTSE lags as BoE ties rates to employment
* Possible imminent cut in U.S. stimulus saps appetite for
* Randgold weighs as falling gold price hits profits
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Wednesday,
led by Britain's FTSE 100, on concerns the British and
U.S. central banks may tighten monetary policy earlier than
markets had anticipated.
Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.8 percent after the Bank
of England said it planned to keep interest rates at current
records lows until unemployment falls to 7 percent.
"They've left themselves open to interpretation," Ioan Smith
at Knight Capital, said. "Rates are not going to rise, though
they can, because (governor Mark Carney) has stressed that they
are not pre-committed in any way, they are just offering
The BoE's quantitative easing programme and similar schemes
operated by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other global central
banks have helped the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
rise 13 percent in the past year.
The index was down 0.2 percent at 1,218.60 points on
Wednesday, weighed down by concerns the Fed may discontinue its
own QE programme in the next couple months.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, typically among the
most dovish policymakers, said late on Tuesday the central bank
will probably trim its bond-buying with new money later this
year and could do so next month, depending on economic data.
"Now we think that the market clearly understands that (QE)
tapering is going to happen," said Franz Wenzel, a strategist at
AXA Investment Managers, who expects U.S. economic data to
continue to improve and the Fed to start reducing its bond
purchases in September.
Some downbeat corporate results also weighed on the index.
Shares in Brenntag fell 5.8 percent to the bottom
of the FTSEurofirst 300 as the world's largest chemicals
distributor posted second-quarter core earnings below market
expectations and warned of slowing growth.
Africa-focused miner Randgold Resources fell 3.6
percent after it posted a 62 percent drop in quarterly profit,
hit by the plunging gold price and echoing a weak update by peer
Fresnillo the previous day.