European shares hold near six-year highs; utilities slip

jueves 29 de mayo de 2014 12:45 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, near six-year high

* DAX flat after record high on Wednesday

* Utilities underperform as Citi downgrades some stocks

By Tricia Wright and Sudip Kar-Gupta

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

Utility stocks underperformed after Citigroup cut its ratings on some southern European stocks in the sector, such as Enel. Regulatory pressures and increasing competition could affect the companies' earnings, the bank said.

Citigroup's downgrades led to a 0.2 percent decline by the STOXX Europe 600 Utilities Index, compared with a 0.1 percent rise on the broader STOXX 600 index. The utilities index has risen about 13 percent since the start of 2014, making it one of the top-performing sectors.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.1 percent at 1,379.05 points, within a whisker of a near six-year high of 1,380.52 points that it reached this week.

Germany's DAX was flat at 9,938.90 points after rising to a record high of 9,957.87 points on Wednesday. France's CAC was flat at 4,530.51 points.   Continuación...