European shares inch up; Telecom Italia surges
PARIS, Sept 24 (Reuters) - European shares inched higher at the open on Tuesday, halting a two-session retreat, although gains were limited by uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve would scale back its stimulus measures.
Telecom Italia was among the top gainers after Telefonica agreed to raise its stake in Telco, the holding company that controls Telecom Italia, in a two-phase deal that will give the Spanish group an initial 66 percent in Telco with no changes in voting rights.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.1 percent at 1,257.31 points after losing 0.8 percent in the past two days.
U.S. stocks slipped on Monday after William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said in a speech the timeline that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke articulated in June for scaling back stimulus was "still very much intact", as long as the economy keeps improving.
At a separate event, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said the Fed had hurt its credibility and had urged colleagues to support a $10 billion reduction in the Fed's bond-buying programme at last week's meeting.
Equity markets worldwide rallied strongly last week after the Fed decided not to trim down its quantitative easing programme, but the euphoria was short-lived as investors started to see the Fed's decision as a sign that U.S. economy was losing steam.
European stocks have erased all their gains triggered by the Fed's surprise decision, although the broad STOXX Europe 600 is still up 5.2 percent so far this month, on track for its best monthly performance in two years, and its best September since 1997.