European shares extend losses on Fed stimulus jitters

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 | 3:18 AM ET

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - European stocks were led lower by energy stocks on Wednesday, on concern the U.S. central bank could trim its stimulus programme sooner than expected, although a leading index remained in its recent tight trading range.

On Tuesday, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart, seen as a centrist in policy terms, said a cut in the Fed's bond-buying operations remained a possibility at its Dec. 17-18 meeting.

At 0801 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.4 percent at 1,285.75 points after falling 0.6 percent in the previous session, dragged down by a 0.7 percent drop in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas index.

Since late October the FTSEurofirst 300 has traded in a tight 20 point open-close range as weak earnings and uncertainty over the Fed's tapering plan acted to cap sentiment.

The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index, meanwhile, fell 0.3 percent to 3,026.58 points.

"The Euro STOXX 50 is in a short-term consolidation within its long-term resistance zone of 3,050-3,080. Next support level is 3,000," Sophia Wurm, technical analyst at Commerzbank, said.

"Nevertheless, from a medium-term view, the current consolidation should have a trend-confirming character to the upside."

On the positive side, Danish oil and shipping group, A.P. Moller-Maersk, rose 1.7 percent after raising its full-year outlook as its container shipping unit managed to offset lower freight rates by cutting costs and increasing transport volumes.