* FTSEurofirst 300 edges down by 0.1 pct
* Madrid buoyed by solid Spanish bond sale
* Italy privatisation plans lift Milan bourse
* Goldman sees more gains for Europe equities in 2014
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - European shares slipped on
Thursday as worries resurfaced over an eventual scaling back of
U.S. economic stimulus measures but the Spanish and Italian
Despite the pullback, many investors and traders were
confident the broader equity market rally would continue into
2014, with Goldman Sachs forecasting more gains for the European
and UK stock markets next year.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which hit
a 5-year high of 1,316.42 points earlier this month, dipped 0.1
percent to 1,295.60 points.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also fell 0.1 percent to 3,043.75 points and the pan-European
STOXX 600 index fell 0.2 percent to 322.24 points.
Traders said the main reason for the decline was the signals
overnight from the U.S. Federal Reserve that it may start
scaling back monetary stimulus measures in the next few months.
However, Milan's FTSE MIB equity index withstood
the broader fall to gain 0.4 percent, while Spain's IBEX
also advanced by 0.3 percent.
The Madrid stock market was buoyed by strong demand at a
Spanish bond sale on Thursday, while Italy's plans to raise up
to 12 billion euros ($16.2 billion) from privatisations lifted
the Milan exchange.
"Madrid is standing quite strong - this is due to the great
result of their debt auction. This is good news considering how
deep in trouble the country was," said Varengold Bank sales
trader Anita Paluch.
Spain and Italy are slowly recovering from the euro zone's
sovereign debt crisis, which hit their economies hard, and this
has reinforced expectations among investors for a broader
European economic recovery extending into 2014.
The FTSE MIB is up by around 16 percent since the start of
2013 while the IBEX is up by 17 percent, with both performing
broadly in line with a 15 percent rally in the STOXX 600 index.
Goldman Sachs expected the STOXX 600 to continue to advance
and to end 2014 at the 360-point level, as European companies
start to benefit from the broader economic recovery.
"After three years of virtual stagnation, we expect European
profits to grow 14 percent in 2014, driven by an improvement in
global growth and some rise in margins," said Goldman's chief
global equity strategist Peter Oppenheimer.
"The case for equities as a 'Long Good Buy' continues in our
view," he added.