* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 1.4 pct
* Adidas, Banco Espirito Santo shares slump
* Worries about U.S. monetary policy hit sentiment
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 31 Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 share
index hit a three-week low on Thursday, led lower by Adidas
after the group warned about business in Russia.
Argentina's default and concerns of an early U.S. rate hike
also rattled investors.
The broader market was dragged down by sharp declines in
some individual stocks following the announcement of their
earnings. The broader market sell-off accelerated in the
afternoon after the U.S. market opened lower and extended losses
later in the session
German sportswear firm Adidas fell 15.2 percent,
the top decliner on the FTSEurofirst 300 index, Portugal's Banco
Espirito Santo sank nearly 50 percent at one point to a
record low after booking a 3.6 billion euro first-half loss and
disappointing earnings at Spanish healthcare firm Grifols
sent its shares down 11.2 percent.
BES, down 37 percent, pushed Portugal's benchmark PSI 20
index 3.4 percent lower to underperform the wider
market, while Adidas dragged Germany's DAX 2 percent
down after saying it will scale back plans to expand in Russia
and overhaul its golf business.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, about 40 percent
of STOXX Europe 600 companies have reported results so
far in the earnings season, of which 55 percent have met or
beaten profit forecast. On average, quarterly profits are up 7.1
Spanish stocks also came under pressure, with Madrid's IBEX
dropping 2.3 percent, as traders cited worries over
Spanish companies' exposure to Latin America after Argentina
defaulted on its debt on Thursday.
At 1457 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 1.4
percent at 1,346.84 points after falling up to 1,346.78, the
lowest since early July, with analysts saying the sell-off might
continue in the near-term on worries about further monetary
tightening in the United States.
"The biggest worry is the uncertainty about the U.S.
monetary policy. The strong GDP data and an improving economic
outlook have raised the risk of an early rate hike," Philippe
Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets
in Brussels, said.
"Tomorrow's U.S. non-farm payrolls data may further cement
the view that a rate rise could happen earlier than expected."
Data showed on Wednesday the U.S. economy rebounded sharply
in the second quarter as consumers stepped up spending and
businesses restocked, while Friday's data is likely to show U.S.
non-farm payrolls rose by 233,000 in July, which would mark the
sixth month with job growth above 200,000.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by