March 20, 2012 / 8:13 AM / 5 years ago

European shares fall continuing to consolidate

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - European shares fell for a second day on Tuesday, as investors continued to take profits after a rally to an eight month high last week, although U.S. housing starts data could give the market a boost if it shows signs of a recovery.

BHP Billiton featured among the top fallers, down 1.9 percent after the miner said China iron ore demand growth was flattening.

By 0807 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares was down 0.4 percent at 1,100.73 points after hitting an eight month high last week.

"We are seeing some profit taking, the FTSEurofirst 300 index is still above the 1,100 level following a strong rally and there has not been any news to drive it forward," said Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital.

"It is struggling to hold onto the recent gains. Our clients are now looking to go short and sell into the rally. If there is some improvement in the U.S. housing starts it may give a little push upwards."

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