LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Tuesday
as a late sell-off knocked markets off 7-week highs reached
earlier in the session, with semiconductors group
STMicroelectronics leading the way after weak results.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index spent much
of the day in positive territory, at one stage rising as much as
0.5 percent to a 7-week high of 1,216.36 points.
However, the index then gradually drifted lower towards the
end of the day to provisionally close down by 0.2 percent at
1,208.41 points, with STMicro topping the list of FTSEurofirst
fallers, down 10.3 percent.
Traders said there was no single specific factor behind the
sell-off, but several cited investors looking to book profits on
the earlier move up in case tech group Apple posted
weak results after the close.
"We've certainly been consolidating for the last couple of
sessions and there's the potential for Apple's earnings to
disappoint," said Logic Investments strategy head Peter Rice.
"The risk is for further selling pressure. The likelihood is
a continuation of the downward draft," he added.