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European shares at 1-week lows, led by miners

Toni Vorobyova
Tuesday, 3 Dec 2013 | 4:10 AM ET

* FTSEurofirst 300, Euro STOXX 50 each down 0.2 pct

* EuroSTOXX 50 technical support at 3,060, then 3,000-Commerzbank

* CS targets 3,400 on EuroSTOXX 50 by end-2014

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - European stocks edged down to one-week lows on Tuesday, led by miners, after strong U.S. data heightened concern the Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus sooner rather than later.

Miners such as Antofagasta, down 2.8 percent, declined as copper prices fell, following a report on Monday that U.S. factory activity reached a 2 1/2-year high last month.

More production by factories generally means more demand for metals. Now, though, it might mean the Fed will reduce its bond purchases as soon as December or January, which in turn could stunt the economic recovery.

Fresnillo and Randgold were also among the top fallers in Europe, off 0.7 and 1.3 percent respectively.

"The macro figures in U.S. were good and this triggered the interest of market participants, saying that if the figures are good the Fed will taper sooner rather than later ... As we don't have corporate earnings to lead the sentiment, that's why the market is relatively lower," said Stephane Ekolo, strategist at Market Securities.

Signalling a more cautious mood, the VSTOXX index of implied volatility on euro zone blue chips rose 0.7 percent. That took its gains for three sessions to 12.5 percent, in the biggest such jump in eight weeks.

The FTSEurofirst 300 slipped 0.2 percent at 1,298.69 points by 0836 GMT, testing support around the 10-day moving average, which had acted as a floor the previous session. The EuroSTOXX 50 index of euro zone blue chips also fell 0.2 percent, to 3,070.84 points, touching one-week lows.

Technical and fundamental analysts remained upbeat about the outlook for European equities over the longer term.

"We have a brilliant rally and now we have a little bit of a slowdown, a normal consolidation," said Petra Kerssenbrock, technical analyst at Commerzbank. "The next short-term support (on EuroSTOXX 50) is at 3,060 and then we have a massive support around 3,000-3,015, but I don't expect it to go that far down."

From the fundamental side, analysts at Citi and Credit Suisse, among others, highlighted opportunities among European equities in their 2014 outlooks. The latter forecast that the EuroSTOXX 50 would finish next year at 3,600 points.

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