European shares slip from highs, BMW sags

Reuters

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.6 pct

* Two in three companies missing revenue forecasts -StarMine

* Stocks still seen very attractive relative to bonds

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - European shares set new five-year

highs on Tuesday before dipping after mixed results from blue

chips, with uncertainty in the run-up to an ECB policy meeting

also keeping investor enthusiasm in check.

Shares in BMW dropped 3.2 percent in brisk volumes

after the German carmaker said quarterly profit at its auto unit

fell more than expected, hurt in part by price discounts in core

European markets.

Holcim, the world's largest cement maker by market

value, fell 0.6 percent after warning that 2013 sales volumes

would be lower than last year, blaming sluggish demand in some

major emerging markets.

Results were brighter at Beiersdorf, whose stock

surged 5.4 percent. The maker of Nivea creams and lotions lifted

its 2013 sales forecast and said it had gained market share from

rivals in Europe.

Half way into the European earnings season, 52 percent of

STOXX Europe 600 companies have missed profit

forecasts, and two thirds have missed revenue forecasts,

according to data from Thomson Reuters StarMine, a sharp

contrast with the second-quarter result season during which only

42 percent of companies missed profit forecasts.

At 1124 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top

European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,291.26 points, after

rising as high as 1,297.29 in early trade, a level not seen

since mid-2008.

"We've just had a pretty nice rally in stocks, so

tactically, it's tempting to book a bit of profit at this

stage," said Koen Maes, global head of asset allocation at Dexia

Asset Management, which has 73 billion euros ($98 billion) under

management.

"But with so much cash still on the sidelines and with

equities looking very attractive relative to bonds, the

medium-term trend for stocks is still bullish."

The FTSEurofirst 300 has gained nearly 6 percent in the past

four weeks, boosted in part by expectations that both euro zone

and U.S. monetary policy will remain accommodative for some

time.

U.S. officials said on Monday that the Federal Reserve was

in no rush to cut its programme of bond purchases, backing

market expectations that the equity-friendly stimulus will not

be trimmed until early next year.

In Europe, recent tame inflation figures have sparked

speculation about a possible rate cut by the European Central

Bank when it meets on Thursday, though all but one of 23 euro

money market traders polled by Reuters on Monday expect the ECB

to leave borrowing costs unchanged at 0.5 percent.

"I don't think they will cut rates, because frankly it

wouldn't change anything at this point in terms of impact on the

economic recovery," Dexia AM's Maes said.

Around Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 index was down 0.5

percent, Germany's DAX index down 0.4 percent, and

France's CAC 40 down 0.5 percent.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index

was down 0.6 percent, at 3,044.06 points. The index has been

stuck for a week below a strong resistance level at 3,077.24,

which represents a peak hit in early 2011 and above which it

would hit five-year highs.

Despite the day's losses, Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier

said he remained positive.

"The trend is quite bullish at the moment, there's just no

sign of weakness. At this point, investors who missed the rally

so far are forced to jump in. The upside potential for the next

three to four months is around 6 to 7 percent for indexes."

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