April 16, 2018 / 7:39 AM / a year ago

European shares steady after U.S.-led strike on Syria; WPP falls

MILAN, April 16 (Reuters) - European shares steadied near 4-week highs on Monday as investors expected there would be no immediate escalation in Syria following the weekend’s U.S.-led strike.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index was down 0.05 percent by 0715 GMT, while other European benchmarks were also little changed. Euronext said price levels for the CAC and other indexes were not available for technical reasons.

“Saturday’s operation... was a limited one, and intended to be a one-off as President Trump declared ‘mission accomplished’. Many feared the attack would probably lead to a broader confrontation, but the conducted strike was not strong enough to bring Russian retaliation,” said Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM.

Caution however dominated as tensions between Western powers and Russia persisted.

On the corporate front, shares in WPP fell 2.3 percent after chief executive and founder Martin Sorrell quit, leaving the group without a boss at a time of huge change in the industry.

Top STOXX gainer was Whitbread, up 6.3 percent after U.S. activist investor Elliott Management said it now held the largest stake in the coffee-shop operator.

Software AG was among the leading fallers, down 4.2 percent. Traders said the fall was due to weaker-than-expected quarterly revenues at its Digital Business Platform business. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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