PARIS Jan 10 European shares fell on Thursday, with a pan-European index slipping from a near two-year high hit earlier in the day, as comments from Swatch's CEO on the outlook for Swiss watch exports hurts luxury shares.
A number of traders also mentioned market talk of a significant move in the derivatives market as the reason behind the late-session selloff.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares provisionally closed 0.3 percent lower at 1,164.03 points, after rising to as high as 1,170.29 points earlier in the session, a level not seen since March 2011.
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek said he expected Swiss watch exports as a whole to grow 5-7 percent in 2013, down from the 12.6 percent growth recorded for the 11 months up to November 2012.
Shares in LVMH, the world's biggest maker of luxury goods, lost 1.1 percent, Hermes fell 1.9 percent and Richemont dropped 2.1 percent.
"These are the stocks that have shown resilience during the euro zone debt crisis, and people are now keen to book profits on these and switch to recent losers that offer more upside," a Paris-based trader said.
Nokia bucked the trend, jumping 11 percent after the cellphone maker unveiled strong sales of Lumia smartphones.