Europe stock indexes post best first quarter in years
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.7 pct on day, up 16 pct in Q1
* DAX records best Q1 gain since creation in 1988
* About 665 bln euros in market value created in Q1
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, March 31 (Reuters) - European shares slipped on Tuesday after their recent sharp rally but retained big gains for the quarter, with Germany's DAX posting its strongest first-quarter performance since its creation in 1988.
The DAX has surged 22 percent in the last three months, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares climbed 16 percent, boosted by the European Central Bank's asset-buying scheme which has helped weaken the euro currency.
Shares in the euro zone have seen the bulk of the gains, climbing 18 percent overall, a rise of about 665 billion euros ($710 billion) in market value over the past three months, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream shows.
That is more than half the size of the ECB's quantitative easing programme, launched this month.
The central prediction from around 50 fund managers and strategists polled by Reuters in the past week was for the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index to rise more than 6 percent from current levels to 425 points by the end of 2015. Continuación...