European shares end off 17-mth high on U.S. data

LONDON Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:14pm IST

LONDON Dec 3 (Reuters) - European shares gave up most of their gains in a late market sell-off on Monday, retreating from a 17-month high due to disappointing U.S. manufacturing data and persistent concerns about a fiscal row in the United States.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares provisionally closed 0.2 percent firmer at 1,121.38 points.

Earlier, the index rose up to 1,128.65, the highest since July 2011, helped by surveys showing Chinese manufacturing returned to growth in November and a downturn in euro zone factories eased.

But European shares pared gains after a survey showed U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted.

The market also saw some technical selling, with the euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index failing to hold a key resistance level of 2,600 - its September high. The index was up 0.3 percent at 2,581.96 points.

"The index looks toppish and further short-term pullbacks are possible," Roelof-Jan van den Akker, senior technical analyst at ING Commercial Banking, said.

"Within the index's 50-day moving average and last week's gap between 2,549 and 2,559, you should expect the development of a higher bottom from where the next rally to break the strong resistance at 2,600 could start."

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