* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.7 pct
* SABMiller, Nestle give weak updates
* Germany's DAX sinks as tension mounts in Ukraine
By Blaise Robinson and Sudip Kar-Gupta
PARIS/LONDON, April 15 Worries over escalating
tension in Ukraine and weak updates by bellwethers including
Nestle held back European stocks on Tuesday.
At 1428 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.6 percent, at 1,311.35, resuming last
week's slide during which the index lost about 3 percent, before
slightly bouncing back on Monday.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
was down 0.7 percent at 3,108.98 points, testing a key support
level, its 50-day moving average, for the third straight
session. Breaking below it would send a bearish technical
"We're cautious in the short term, we're waiting to see how
the geopolitical situation evolves. There are a lot of
uncertainties about Ukraine, which could become a negative
catalyst for stocks if things spin out of control," Barclays
France director Franklin Pichard said.
Russia declared Ukraine on the brink of civil war on Tuesday
as Kiev said an "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Moscow
separatists was under way, with troops and armoured personnel
carriers seen near a flashpoint eastern town.
Germany's DAX index, seen as the most vulnerable to
the crisis in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, was down 1.3
percent, with Continental down 1.4 percent and Daimler
down 2.6 percent.
"Things have not improved in Ukraine, and this is weighing
on the markets," said Francois Savary, chief investment officer
at Swiss bank Reyl.
Savary added that European stock markets now needed firm
evidence of a recovery in earnings to move higher, after making
little headway during the first quarter.
On Tuesday, several companies posted business updates that
disappointed investors in some aspects.
Brewing company SAB Miller fell 2.5 percent after a
sales update that some analysts said failed to meet forecasts.
French cosmetics group L'Oreal and Nestle
both undershot market expectations with first-quarter
sales, although they forecast a return to top-line growth in
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Alison Williams)