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Euro shares slip in year's 1st session

Thursday, January 02 17:17:18

European stocks slipped today as soft Chinese and French manufacturing data prompted investors to start new year trading by cashing in a portion of the lofty gains made in 2013.

Shares in Italian automaker Fiat bucked the trend, soaring 15 percent in volumes more than five times the stock's daily average volumes, after it struck a $4.35 billion deal to gain full control of U.S. carmaker Chrysler without raising fresh funds.

At 1530 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares - which gained 16 percent in 2013 - was down 0.6 percent at 1,308.28 points.

The drop was bigger in the euro zone, with the blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index down 1.3 percent, at 3,069.74.

"It's a wave of profit taking. We're back to reality after the year-end rally," FXCM analyst Nicolas Cheron said.

"All the positive catalysts have been priced in already while people were also happy to just forget about the negative factors, so today's macro data is a bit of a wake-up call."

Investors were rattled by data showing China's final HSBC/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) falling to a three-month low of 50.5 in December from 50.8 in November, cementing the view that growth in the world's second-biggest economy slowed in the final quarter of 2013.

In Europe, Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 52.7 in December from November's 51.6, although French manufacturing activity shrank at the fastest rate in seven months in December, to 47.0.