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Tenaris leads pullback in overbought European shares

Francesco Canepa
Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 | 4:27 AM ET

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.3 pct

* Tenaris, Vallourec pummelled by U.S. imports tariff report

* Carlsberg, Lafarge shrug off EM hit with strong updates

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Wednesday, led by Italy's Tenaris, as investors took profits on overbought indexes, although buoyant updates from Carlsberg and Lafarge helped limit market losses.

Seamless steel tube makers Tenaris fell 5.5 percent to the bottom of the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, with traders citing a U.S. anti-dumping ruling hitting the sector. French peer Vallourec fell 5 percent.

According to a Bloomberg report, the U.S. Commerce Department preliminarily set tariffs on imports of steel pipes from eight countries, though not including South Korea, one of the biggest exporters of tubes to the United States.

"There was expectation that South Korea would be included, which would have been good news," a Paris-based trader said.

At 0810 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,335.68 points, while the euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.3 percent at 3,109.16 points.

Both indexes were retreating from overbought territory based on their seven-day Relative Strength Index, a momentum indicator, after rising for eight of the last 10 sessions.

The FTSEurofirst 300 gained roughly 5 percent over the past two weeks, boosted in part by relatively good results in the current earnings season.

EMERGING MARKETS

So far, 58 percent of companies have reported in-line or better-than-expected profits, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.

Shares in Carlsberg surged 6.6 percent as the world's fourth largest brewer raised its dividend by a third thanks to growth in western Europe and Asia offsetting sluggish sales in Russia, where the economy is slowing.

Lafarge, which derives 58 percent of its sales from emerging markets, confirmed its targets despite a hit from volatile currencies in the fourth quarter, betting on continued growth in emerging markets and a recovery in North America and Europe. Its shares rose 3.1 percent.

Earlier this year, sharp fluctuations in emerging market currencies and fears of a slowdown in their economies triggered a sharp selloff in European shares with an EM exposure.

"It was not as bad as some people feared, which makes it positive," Mike Reuter, a broker at Tradition, said.

Reuter, however, cautioned that political uncertainty in countries such as the Ukraine meant risks remained elevated.

"I wouldn't extrapolate from a couple of companies that beat (with their) results that the whole area is improving. There are still significant (forex) risks."

Europe bourses in 2014:

Asset performance in 2014:

Today's European research round-up

  Price   Change %Change
DB1
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TEN
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VK
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CARL.B
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BBG
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