* FTSEurofirst 300 flat, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.2 pct
* Carlsberg warns of deteriorating conditions in Russia
* Heineken surges after forecast-beating results
* Luxottica slumps on reports CEO to step down
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Aug 20 European shares dipped in early
trade on Wednesday, ending a sharp two-day rally, with investors
rattled after Carlsberg issued a profit warning,
blaming deteriorating conditions in Russia.
Shares in the Danish brewer plunged 5.8 percent after the
warning. It derives 35 percent of its profits from Russia,
making it a test case of how European companies will be affected
by tensions between the West and Russia over the conflict in
Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy.
Shares in rival Heineken, however, surged 6.8
percent after the brewer posted better-than-expected first-half
operating profit, as it sped up cost savings and grew volumes in
all regions except for Central and Eastern Europe.
Fighting in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, a major
energy supplier to Europe, have muddied the forecasts of a
number of multinationals including Henkel, Adidas
At 0730 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was flat, at 1,347.05 points after gaining 1.8
percent in the past two sessions, while the UK's FTSE 100 index
, Germany's DAX index and France's CAC 40 .FCHI>
were all down 0.1 percent.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
was down 0.1 percent at 3,087.89 points.
"The recent rebound from the June-August drop should help
European indexes retrace about 50 percent of the pullback, but
beyond that, the upside potential is quite limited. Indexes are
stuck in a range," Aurel BGC analyst Gerard Sagnier said.
The FTSEurofirst 300 - which had tumbled 7 percent
between late June and early August - has recovered nearly half
of the slide, with the index testing the 50 percent Fibonacci
retracement level on Wednesday, at 1,348.11 points.
Germany's DAX index, one of the European markets
hardest hit by worries over turmoil in Ukraine, tested on
Wednesday the 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of its
June-August slide, a key resistance level, before retreating.
Investors were also cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's minutes of its July policy meeting which could give
insight on the outlook for interest rates.
The Fed is set to releases the minutes from its July 29-30
policy meeting at 1800 GMT. The minutes could shed further light
on how the central bank plans to eventually exit from its
extraordinary monetary stimulus, and could also show whether
there is a growing divide between 'hawks' and 'doves' over when
to raise interest rates.
Shares in Luxottica, the world's largest eyewear
maker by revenue, tumbled 7 percent after newspaper reports the
group's CEO Andrea Guerra could be stepping down after
differences of opinion with founder and chairman Leonardo Del
Vecchio. Luxottica declined to comment.
Guerra, widely seen as a driving force behind Luxottica's
success in recent years, has been CEO of the company since 2004.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Susan Fenton)