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Euro shares rally stalls ahead of ECB

Tuesday, June 03 14:29:04

European shares slipped today in thin volumes, with a number of benchmark indexes retreating from multi-year highs as investors awaited Thursday's European Central Bank meeting before chasing stocks higher.

Expectations of fresh measures by the central bank to support the region's fragile economic recovery and avoid deflation were cemented on Tuesday after data showed euro zone inflation fell unexpectedly in May.

Sources told Reuters last month that the central bank was preparing a package of policy options, including cuts in all its interest rates and targeted measures aimed at boosting lending to small and mid-sized firms.

"Stocks are buoyed by hopes to see the ECB unveil new measures, conventional and unconventional," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities.

"(ECB President Mario) Draghi has been very credible so far, but with stock indexes at such levels, if he fails to deliver this week, the disappointment could spark a real pull-back."

At 1123 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.5 percent at 1,373.62 points, after hitting a 6-1/2 high on Monday, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.3 percent.

Germany's DAX, which hit a record high on Monday just below the 10,000 mark, was down 0.5 percent.