LONDON: European stock markets fell Wednesday,taking the steam out of a rally that pushed London to record highs the previous day.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.36 percent to stand at 6,924.30 points around midday in the British capital.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 edged down 0.07 percent to 11,197 points and the CAC 40 index in Paris lost 0.29 percent to 4,872.20 compared with Tuesday’s close.
The euro nudged higher to $1.1344 from $1.1342 late in New York on Tuesday.
“Once again the FTSE appears to be suffering from stage fright as the looming 7,000 level, for so long predicted to be broken, has yet again proven to be a step too far,” said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG trading group.
Europe’s main stock markets had risen on Tuesday, with London’s FTSE index of 100 companies closing at its highest level ever, at 6,949.63 points, after eurozone finance ministers backed an extension of Greece’s bailout.
The index had been rising steadily for months, helped by central bank stimulus and improvements to the British and US economies that have offset weakness in China and strains in the eurozone.
On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 indices bolted to fresh record highs on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pledged a cautious approach to raising US interest rates.
“Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress yesterday, while on the face it a repeat of her dovish stance, does move the Fed closer to raising interest rates,” said Neil MacKinnon, economist at financial group VTB Capital.
Elsewhere, the hard work began Wednesday for Greece’s new anti-austerity government to live up to promises made not only to international creditors but also to voters expecting relief from years of painful cuts.
On Tuesday Athens secured — but only just — a four-month extension to its lifeline bailout programme, although the German and Greek parliaments still have to give the green light.