LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - European shares pared gains on
Wednesday, having earlier risen to fresh peaks, with some
traders looking to book profits on expectations that U.S.
economic data later this week may fail to beat forecasts.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had
earlier risen to a 4-1/2 year intraday high of 1,193.35 points,
was flat at 1,188.61 points by 1534 GMT.
The so-called "peripheral" southern European stock markets
of Spain and Italy, which have been hit hard by the euro zone's
debt crisis and an election stalemate in Rome, underperformed
with Spain's IBEX down 0.4 percent while Italy's FTSE
MIB fell 0.2 percent.
Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths said
some traders were selling to book profits on the earlier rally
on expectations that U.S non-farm payroll data on Friday may not
beat market forecasts.
"I think it's just a bit of profit-taking. I'd expect the
market to ease up towards the end of the week," he said.
City Index strategist Joshua Raymond said equity markets
could be volatile ahead of the publication of such data, which
might provide clues on whether central banks will continue with
stimulus measures to support the global economy.
"It's fairly choppy... there's a lot of data out over the
next couple of days that's going to be very important for the
near-term path of the market, (and) whether stimulus buttons
still remain on, or whether there's more of a question mark on
that," said Raymond.