Tuesday, 04 September 2012 14:45
LONDON: European shares fell on Tuesday as investors turned cautious in the run-up to a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, with the Swiss market lagging after figures showed an unexpected contraction in the country's economy.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.3 percent to 1,088.20 points, while the euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 index was flat.
Expectations the ECB will firm up a debt-buying scheme to fight the euro zone's debt crisis have driven an equity rally since late July.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has risen some 7 percent since ECB head Mario Draghi pledged on July 26 to do "whatever it takes" to protect the euro from the crisis, which risks increasingly impacting on Spain and Italy.
But uncertainty over the timing and extent of any ECB action following the central bank's meeting on Thursday has limited gains and, some traders believe, left the market vulnerable to a sell-off.
"I'm still expecting further weakness unless they ...