UK stocks : FTSE 100 down 0.7 pct
While 70 percent of European companies have so far beaten or met earnings estimates in the current reporting season, top analysts still expect fourth-quarter growth to fall 8.8 percent year-on-year. After rallying 6 percent in January, Shore Capital strategist Gerard Lane said the FTSE looked "way too high given the near-term risks to earnings and the U.S. fiscal worries". "However, I still think the FTSE 100 will see 7,000 by the year-end and if you are a smart investor you invest for the 7,000 now rather than wait for a correction that might never happen," he added. EQUITY DEMAND British investment managers sharply increased their exposure to stocks in January as concerns of more financial instability receded and the market's recovery gathered pace, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday. But while broadly expecting the stock market recovery to continue, they cautioned that a risk of setbacks remains, with many of the world's economic problems still not fully resolved. "Our view remains that however well the economic rebound proceeds, this recovery will still lack the strength seen in other rebounds," Percival Stanion, Chairman of the Strategic Policy Group at Baring Asset Management, said in a note. "Deleveraging will continue; deficits will be
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