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CORRECTED-European shares edged up on new-month investments

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

(Corrects name in 8th para to Jerry Avenell from Jerry Avel) * EuroSTOXX 50 up 0.1 pct, FTSEurofirst up 0.2 pct * FTSE MIB hit by Italian financial transaction tax * Chinese data weighs on miners By Toni Vorobyova LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Friday as investors put on fresh bets at the start of the month, but gains were capped by concerns about the global economy in the face of looming U.S. budget cuts and weak Chinese data. Some $85 billion in U.S. government spending cuts are set to kick in from Friday, after politicians failed to reach a deal to prevent the measure, which is expected to cut growth in the world's biggest economy by around 0.5 percent. "It's the first of the month - everyone comes in, the slate is clean ... (But) there is a lot of bad news out there and it's being taken too lightly, and today is a good time to sell or to buy some volatility," said Nick Xanders, who heads European equity strategy at brokerage BTIG. His research shows that EuroSTOXX 50 has risen on the first day of 13 of the past 14 months. The euro zone blue chip index was up 0.1 percent by 0900 GMT at 2,635.03 points. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.2 percent at 1,171.86 points, after a jittery start which saw it dart either side of the no-change line. Milan's FTSE MIB was one of the worst performers among the regional bourses, down 0.4 percent on the first day of a new Italian financial transaction tax, which is expected to hit volumes in cash equities and derivatives. "It's not good for the broader market. If there is less liquidity in Italian markets, market participants are going to feel the impact of that," said Jerry Avenell, co-head of sales at BATS Chi-X Europe. The tax comes at a time when investors were already turning cautious on Italy, following a stalemate election result which has left no party with enough power to form a government. One hour into the session, volumes on the FTSE MIB were at 10 percent of their 90-day daily average, against 17 percent for the FTSEurofirst 300 - which includes some Italian stocks - and 21 percent for Britain's FTSE 100. Among the sectors, basic resources fared the worst, down 1.4 percent after data confirmed that Chinese factory growth slowed to multi-month lows last month, potentially boding ill for future metals demand. "There have been some elements of concern and to that you can add today's China data - is it just a blip or is it a more meaningful indicator?" said Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank. "(But) there are still a lot of investors who want to move into equity markets but haven't done so on a large scale. My advice for these investors will be to buy the dips." Given the ongoing economic uncertainty, investors continued to focus on companies' 2013 outlooks. Shares in Thales topped the FTSEurofirst 300 gainers, up 12 percent after Europe's largest defence electronics group beat expectations with 2012 results and forecast strong profit growth for this year. On the downside, Belgian telecoms group Belgacom and Dutch oil and chemicals storage firm Vopak lost 6.1 and 9.3 percent, respectively, after sounding a cautious note on this year's prospects. (Reporting by Toni Vorobyova; Editing by Catherine Evans)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130301/european-shares-edged-new-month-investments