May 24, 2013
LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) - European shares fell for a second consecutive session on Friday, led by financials on concern over growth in Asia and the potential scaling back of U.S. monetary stimulus.
The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed down 2.83 points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,227.11, to end the week 1.7 percent lower.
That first weekly fall in a month was driven by downbeat data from China and the U.S. concerns, fuelled by comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke earlier in the week, which prompted profit taking on equity indexes trading at multi-year highs.
"We remain positive on equities in general ... (but) more broadly equity markets may lose some momentum now that they must worry about stimulus withdrawal," Guy Foster, head of portfolio strategy at Brewin Dolphin, said.
European shares have rallied nearly 30 percent since mid-2012 as central bank easy monetary policy, including low interest rates and bond purchases, has supported growth and driven down yields of other asset classes, in turn forcing investors into equities for their higher returns.
Sectors that track economic growth more closely, such as auto makers and basic resources , each fell 0.8 percent, while financials , which have enjoyed a stellar quarter so far, led the fallers.
(Reporting by David Brett; editing by Simon Jessop)
Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE STOCKS/CLOSE