U.S. impasse hits European shares, Getinge slides on warning
* FTSEurofirst down 0.6 pct, Euro STOXX 50 falls 0.5 pct
* Getinge slumps 10.4 percent, leads healthcare selloff
* HSBC sees Europe outperformance as economy improves
LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Tuesday as a U.S. budget deadlock unnerved investors and medical technology group Getinge led a sellof in the healthcare sector after a profit warning.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index had fallen 0.6 percent to 1,234.03 points by 1451 GMT, down for the fourth time in five sessions as U.S. lawmakers remained in deadlock in talks over a government shutdown and raising of the debt limit.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index, meanwhile, fell 0.5 percent to 2,908.32 points.
Shares in Getinge fell 10.4 percent to the bottom of the FTSEurofirst 300 in volume 11 times the average for the past three months after the group warned on its profits for the second time this year, citing delays to the benefits of an acquisition, taxes and exchange rate moves.
The stock led fallers in the STOXX Europe 600 Healthcare index, which fell 0.9 percent. Drugmakers Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline also weighed after seeing their price targets cut by JP Morgan and Berenberg, respectively.
Getinge's warning followed similar moves by consumer goods group Unilever and cruise operator Carnival in recent weeks.
Analysts are cutting their estimates for European companies despite better economic data for the region, a move often in response to weaker emerging market currencies. The pace of downgrades, however, has slowed in recent weeks, Datastream data showed.
"There are some specific issues such as EM (emerging market) currency weakness, but we expect the improving economic backdrop to drive upside (earnings) surprises from here," Daniel Grosvenor, global strategist at HSBC bank, said.
"Analysts are still revising down their estimates, but at a slower pace than previously, and that ... effect is usually positive for the market."
HSBC expects the FTSEurofirst 300 and the Euro STOXX 50 to climb about 14 percent to hit 1,400 points and 3,300 points by the end of 2014, respectively, outpacing the U.S. S&P 500 index.
European shares have outperformed their U.S. counterparts since July as economic momentum in Europe improved, the U.S. monetary policy became more uncertain and, more recently, amid the threat of a U.S. default.
With the partial U.S. government shutdown in its second week and only nine days left for Congress to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, President Barack Obama said he would accept a short-term increase to avoid a default.
"The most likely scenario is that it won't happen but for sure it 'freezes' some investors (from buying) in the very short term," said Marc Renaud, chairman of Paris-based Mandarine Gestion, which manages 1.8 billion euros ($2.44 billion).
Mandarine has cut the net equity exposure of its asset allocation fund to 37 percent currently, from 43 percent in August, using derivatives to sell European indexes at a future date. The fund's maximum net exposure is 60 percent.