European shares slip from five-week highs

LONDON (Reuters) – European shares slipped slightly on Monday, after rising for three weeks, with Hochtief (HOTG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) leading the construction sector lower after a profit warning.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index fell 0.1 percent to a provisional close of 1,147.15 points. Germany’s Hochtief (HOTG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) shed 9.5 percent after it slashed its outlook on an expected big loss at Australian unit Leighton (LEI.AX: Quote, Profile, Research).

Strategists said the market was likely to hold and then increase the gains that saw the index rise to a five-week closing high on Friday.

“Investors want to look through some of the issues we’ve had like Libya, and take more risk,” said David Rickards, global co-head of equity research at Macquarie in London. “European valuations still look good.”

Among the gainers were miners on the back of strong metals prices, supported by encouraging China copper imports data. Heavyweights to gain included BHP Billiton (BLT.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Xstrata (XTA.L: Quote, Profile, Research), up 1.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman)

European shares slip from five-week highs