European shares fall as Ukraine crisis hits local earnings

Reuters - UK Focus

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) - European stocks fell at the openon Wednesday, hit by heavy losses on Wall Street and as resultsfrom local blue chips such as brewer Carlsberg (Other OTC: CABGY - news) and French bankSociete Generale (Paris: FR0000130809 - news) showed the Ukraine crisis was starting to hurtlarge western companies.

At 0714 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.3 percent at 1,339.57 points. It mirrored aselloff on Wall Street, where Twitter (NYSE: TWTR - news) led a rout intech stocks with a 17.8 percent tumble after the expiration of asix-month "lock-up" period.

In a sign of the direct impact of the Ukraine crisis onEuropean companies, France's No. 2 listed bank Societe Generale booked a 525 million euro ($731 million) writedown onthe value of its Russian unit Rosbank (MCX: ROSB.ME - news) blaming heighteneduncertainty and a decline in the Russian rouble. Its shares fell2 percent.

Danish brewer Carlsberg, one of Europe'sblue-chips with the highest exposure to Russia, fell 2.2 percentas it partly blamed currency volatility in Russia for a fall inits first-quarter operating profit. The group also lowered itsfull-year net profit guidance.

"Overall these warnings had to be expected and there willlikely to be more of them," Markus Huber, a senior sales traderat Peregrine & Black, said.

"It will be important to see if other sectors will startwarning too especially car manufacturers for whom Russia is avery important market." (Reporting By Francesco Canepa)

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