Weaker auto stocks weigh on European equities, miners up
* Rise in euro weighs on European stocks
* Mining shares outperform post-Fed
* Vienna Insurance, Immofinanz fall sharply
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - European equities fell on Thursday, dragged down by exporters as the euro strengthened against the dollar after the U.S. Federal Reserve flagged fewer rate rises this year than previously expected.
Mining companies, however, were among the beneficiaries as a weaker dollar made metals more affordable to consumers who buy them in non-dollar denominated currencies, boosting metals such as copper and aluminium.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed 0.3 percent lower, a day after the Fed held rates steady and indicated that while moderate U.S. economic growth and "strong job gains" would allow it to raise rates this year, policymakers now expect two quarter-point increases by the end of the year, half the number forecast in December.
The European automobile index slipped by 1.3 percent, pressured by falls of between 1.5 percent and 2.2 percent for BMW, Daimler, Renault and Peugeot, which feature among the big European exporters.
"Stocks are moving lower on the back of the euro's advance. We're just consolidating some of the gains made over the last month," said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu, pointing to the FTSEurofirst's 10 percent gain over the past month. Continuación...