* FTSEurofirst 300 ends flat
* Tech sector weighs after disappointing U.S. earnings
* Electrolux surges on outlook upgrade
* Pharma falls as China widens investigation
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, July 19 European shares chalked up a
fourth straight week of gains but ended flat on Friday, dampened
by fresh weakness in the technology sector as a mixed earnings
season on both sides of the Atlantic intensified.
The European tech sector fell 0.7 percent on the
day, making it the worst-performing sector after software firm
Microsoft and Internet giant Google both
posted weak numbers.
That weighed on chip maker ARM, down 2.6 percent,
ahead of its results next Wednesday, while software firm SAP
dropped 2.3 percent after several analysts cut targets
on the stock in light of its recent results.
SAP was the worst-performing stock on the German DAX
, which closed down 0.1 percent.
By the close, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was
down 0.01 percent at 1,209.00, although up 1.1 percent on the
It has bounced 8.8 percent from its June low as the U.S.
Federal Reserve sought to dispel anxiety that the withdrawal of
stimulus would come too soon, a message that was reiterated this
week by Chairman Ben Bernanke.
"For Google, their model for making money is getting to
maturity, so they're getting hit, and all the tech stocks are a
bit lower on that," Lucas Roux de Luze, sales trader at TJM
"More generally, the sentiment of the market is that after a
great run on the back of Bernanke's comments and decent
earnings, we're consolidating a little bit."
A strong start to the European results season has been
tempered by earnings disappointments towards the end of the
week, with Vopak sharply lower, down 5 percent, after
the oil and chemical storage firm was forced to cut its
So far, 53 percent of companies on the STOXX Europe 600
that have reported have beaten or met expectations,
compared to 73 percent on the U.S. S&P 500, Thomson
Reuters StarMine data showed. However, Electrolux
jumped 5.3 percent after posting in-line results and raising its
"Corporate earnings are quite mixed, so we don't have a
clear direction on that front," Myrto Sokou, analyst at Sucden
"We might see a phase of consolidation, with equity markets
trading sideways for next week."
Along with tech firms, pharmaceuticals also
suffered, down 0.7 percent and led lower by Belgium's UCB
. It fell 2.3 percent after saying it had been visited
by Chinese authorities investigating bribery allegations already
made against British heavyweight GlaxoSmithKline.