Utilities fall as European shares hover near multi-year highs

jueves 29 de mayo de 2014 03:59 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 flat, near 6-year high

* DAX slips 0.1 pct after record high on Wednesday

* Utilities underperform as Citi downgrades some key stocks

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, May 29 (Reuters) - European shares held firm near multi-year highs on Thursday, with the region's main stock markets supported by prospects of new economic stimulus measures next week from the European Central Bank (ECB).

Utility stocks underperformed after Citigroup cut its rating on some southern European utility stocks, such as Enel , due to the prospect that regulatory pressures and increasing competition could impact earnings.

Citigroup's downgrades led to a 0.5 percent fall in the STOXX Europe 600 Utilities Index, compared with a flat performance on the broader STOXX 600 index. The utilities index has risen 13 percent since the start of 2014, making it one of the top-performing sectors.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was also flat at 1,377.89 points in early session trading, hovering close to a near 6-year high of 1,380.52 points reached earlier this week.

Germany's DAX, which hit a record high of 9,957.87 points on Wednesday, slipped 0.1 percent to 9,926.22 points while France's CAC declined 0.3 percent to 4,520.32 points.   Continuación...