European shares pause, hit by drop in Roche and Italian banks

viernes 19 de diciembre de 2014 11:38 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 flat after Thursday's 3 pct rally

* Roche hit as two drugs fail tests

* Air France tumbles after third profit warning (Recasts, adds details, quote)

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - European stocks held steady on Friday, pegged back by Swiss drugmaker Roche after it saw two major drugs fail tests and with Italian banks under pressure from a downgrade by S&P.

Healthcare stocks took the most points off the FTSEurofirst 300, with Roche leading the index lower, down 5.3 percent after tests of new Alzheimer's and breast cancer drugs both failed. Analysts said forecasts for 2015 would have to be revised downwards.

"The upcoming drug pipeline was priced into the stock, but it looks unlikely these revenues will materialise," Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said.

The STOXX Europe 600 Health Care index fell 1.3 percent, the biggest sectoral faller.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was flat at 1,356.28 points at 1507 GMT, pausing after a 3 percent advance on Thursday.   Continuación...