Rio hit and earnings concerns weigh on Europe shares

LONDON Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:10am GMT

LONDON Jan 17 (Reuters) - European shares were subdued on Thursday as a writedown at miner Rio Tinto and a cautious outlook at chip maker ASML highlighted concerns that weak corporate earnings may peg back equities in the near term.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell by nearly 0.1 percent to 1,159.00 points at the open, although it later edged back to trade roughly flat at 1,159.65 points.

Rio Tinto took the most points off the FTSEurofirst 300 index, falling 3.4 percent after it announced a $14 billion charge and the resignation of its chief executive.

"There's been a mixed bag on the earnings front so far," said Darren Easton, director of trading at Logic Investments.

"In the short-term, we're in the bear camp," he added.

Easton also said he Germany's DAX, which was down 0.2 percent at 7,675.95 points, could fall further in the near-term, as the index had fallen below its 20-day moving average level of around 7,683 points - an indicator often used as a "sell signal" by some traders.

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