European shares trim losses on Philly Fed data
* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 0.3 percent
* Pan-European index trims losses after Philadelphia data
* Chance of sooner-than-expected U.S. rate rise hits sentiment
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday amid hints that U.S. interest rates might start rising sooner than predicted, although major indexes cut losses on data showing robust factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region.
European stocks tracked U.S. markets, where equities slipped after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday the central bank will probably end its massive bond-buying programme in the autumn and may start raising interest rates around six months later.
In reaction, the FTSEurofirst 300 index fell as much as 1 percent. It later trimmed losses to trade 0.3 percent lower at 1,301.34 points by 1559 GMT, after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 9.0 in March from -6.3 in February.
"The worst-case scenario for the global market right now is a soft patch in the United States, but the Philadelphia data supports the idea that we haven't got one and recent weaker U.S. economic numbers are weather-related," Graham Bishop, senior equity strategist at Exane BNP Paribas, said.
"Higher bond yields aren't necessarily a bad thing, but the transition phase can be bad for equities." Continuación...