* FTSEurofirst 300 flat as investors await U.S. GDP, Fed
* Cement makers lead declines as forex hits results
* Total's stock hit by worries over Russia investment
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, July 30 Cement makers lead declines on
European equity indexes on Wednesday as Switzerland's Holcim
and Germany's HeidelbergCement reported
disappointing results, blaming weak emerging-market currencies.
Their shares fell 4.9 percent and 2 percent, respectively,
leaving the STOXX Europe 600 down 1 percent. Their
sector was the worst performer in Europe.
French electrical-gear maker Schneider Electric,
down 3.1 percent, also blamed the depreciation of several
currencies against the euro for disappointing sales growth in
the first half of the year.
Companies in the STOXX Europe 600 that have reported
quarterly results so far have seen their sales drop by an
average 1 percent, StarMine data showed.
While stronger currencies in developed Europe played a role
in the decline, some strategists were starting to worry about
weaker demand in Europe, which is struggling with low growth and
"It's not so much about the currency, there's no demand from
end-customers in Europe," said Claudia Panseri, global equity
strategist at Societe Generale. "With prices also falling, I see
Bucking the trend was French car maker Peugeot,
which surged 6.5 percent after it posted the first positive
contribution from its core auto division in three years in the
first six months of 2014.
Dutch telecoms group KPN rose 4.3 percent after
reporting a better-than-expected second-quarter core profit,
although it was helped in part by cost cuts.
By 1056 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was flat at 1,373.38 points, after trading
little changed to slightly lower for most of the morning.
French oil major Total fell 2.2 percent after
saying that it had stopped buying shares in Russia's Novatek
the day of the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight
Investors awaited U.S. growth figures for the second
quarter, due at 1230 GMT, as well as the conclusion of the U.S.
Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting and its statement set
to be released at 1800 GMT.
The Fed, meanwhile, is all but certain to cut its monthly
bond-buying programme by another $10 billion.
"People are getting nervous about the impact of the end of
the quantitative easing programme on the equity market," FXCM
analyst Vincent Ganne said.
"The end of the first quantitative easing programme
triggered a sharp correction on the market. It's more gradual
this time, but overall equities could suffer outflows in the
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Larry King)