European Shares Pause for Breath Near 4-1/2 yr Peaks

European shares steadied on Tuesday, taking their cues from a mixed showing on Wall Street and pausing for breath before what technical analysts say could be a push to fresh multi-year highs.

After jittering either side of the no-change mark, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed flat on the day at 1,194.18 points.

The index set a 4-1/2 year high of 1,197.73 at the end of last week, bolstered by a series of record highs on the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was down 0.1 percent at the European close on Tuesday.

"There is a clear improvement among the European indexes during the last months and that is still running," said Achim Matzke, technical analyst at Commerzbank.

"We have seen several days with new all time highs on Wall Street so it is not surprising to see it pause for a day. But I expect the bull market in U.S. equities to continue, and that to also help European equities."