European stock markets edge up

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http://www.sxc.hu/

London - European stock markets were steady on Wednesday, regaining some poise after a drop in the previous session, although French catering and services group Sodexo fell after cutting its revenue target.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which has slipped back over the last week after hitting a 6-1/2 year high of 1,399.62 points in late June, edged up by 0.1 percent to 1,364.15 points.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced 0.2 percent, recovering some ground after a 1.4 percent fall in the previous session.

Catering, facilities management and vouchers group Sodexo fell 2.3 percent after it said its fourth-quarter would be weaker than expected due to the delayed start-up of some major contracts, and cut its full-year sales growth goal.

Sodexo's note of caution followed a profit warning from Air France-KLM on Tuesday, and concerns about weak corporate earnings have contributed to push back European equity markets down from last month's multi-year highs.

“There are some worries that some company results may not be as strong as expected,” said Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths.

There was positive news from the US market, however, with aluminium company Alcoa beating analyst expectations for its quarterly results.

And data cited by the Financial Times suggested short sellers had further scaled back overall bearish bets that stocks will fall, with the amount of shares out on loan back to their lowest level since the crisis.

Selected short bets, particularly those that depend on a performance gap between two stocks, have made a comeback however, with investors seeking different ways to pick apart the multi-year stock rally in Europe. - Reuters


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