U.S. tech rout, earnings drag down European shares

Reuters - UK Focus

* FTSEurofirst 300, Euro STOXX 50 both down 0.1 pct

* Selloff in U.S. tech stocks unsettle investors

* Results from SocGen (Paris: FR0000130809 - news) , Carlsberg (Other OTC: CABGY - news) show Ukraine crisis hasstarted to hit

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) - European stocks edged lower onWednesday, as a selloff on Wall Street unsettled investors andresults from brewer Carlsberg and bank Societe Generale showedthe Ukraine crisis was starting to hurt large western companies.

Shares in France's No. 2 listed bank fell as muchas 2.3 percent as it booked a 525 million euro ($731 million)writedown on the value of its Russian unit Rosbank (MCX: ROSB.ME - news) , blamingheightened uncertainty and a decline in the rouble.

Danish brewer Carlsberg, one of Europe'sblue-chips with the highest exposure to Russia, was also in thered as it lowered its net profit outlook after reporting aweaker-than-expected first quarter, capped by a weak rouble anddeclining sales in Eastern Europe.

"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."

Shares in global carmaker Fiat (Berlin: FIAT.BE - news) -Chrysler (Xetra: 710000 - news) dived 7.6percent after it unveiled an ambitious plan to boost sales by 60percent by 2018 by betting on premium brands such as Jeep andAlfa Romeo.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down0.1 percent at 1,341.72 points, with the euro zone blue-chipEuro STOXX 50 also down 0.1 percent, at 3,146.88points.

They mirrored a selloff on Wall Street, where Twitter (Berlin: TWR.BE - news) led a rout in tech stocks with a 17.8 percent tumbleafter the expiration of a six-month lock-up period for earlyinvestors.

The plunge in tech stocks raised the spectre of a repeat ofthe near 10 percent fall in the tech-heavy Nasdaq index earlier this year, which dragged down global stocks.

Traders, however, noted Tuesday's fall was in thin volume.

About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges,below the 6.2 billion average over the past five days, accordingto data from BATS Global Markets.

"It was a bit of a risk off but I don't think it'llnecessarily (translate into) a big selloff because volumes werestill down 20 percent on a normal day," Mike Reuter, a globalbroker at Tradition, said.

Personal (Other OTC: PRBDF - news) and household goods stocks helped put afloor under the market, as German consumer goods group Henkel (Berlin: HEN.BE - news) beat market expectations with results and ImperialTobacco Group rose after its update.

Europe bourses in 2014: http://link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: http://link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today's European research round-up (Editing by John Stonestreet)

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