LONDON Feb 15 European shares nudged lower on
Friday, held back by weak utilities and banks, though
strategists reckoned that any dips in the equity markets should
be seen as a buying opportunity.
The STOXX Europe 600 Utilities Index and the Banks
index were both among the worst performing European
sectors, off 0.6 percent.
Utilities were knocked by a 3.3 percent drop in Spanish
power company Iberdrola, which traders attributed to
signs that lender Bankia might be looking to sell its
stake in the company.
The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed down 0.1
percent at 1,162.21, around levels seen at the start of January.
While markets have been in a consolidation mode over recent
weeks, continued loose monetary policy from central banks was
one good reason to keep faith with the asset class, some said.
"I still remain fairly positive that after this pause
markets will move higher," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at
BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, said.
Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Standard Life
Investments, meanwhile, said: "I get the feeling that people are
more looking to put money into the market than they are to take
profits at this moment in time."
Standard Life Investments has around 163 billion pounds
($253.1 billion) of assets under management.