* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct
* DAX leads stocks lower after Russia moves troops
* Reinsurers lower after results
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, Aug 6 European shares fell on
Wednesday, led by German equities after a resurgence in tension
in Ukraine and some weaker-than-expected earnings reports.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.6
percent at 1,326.59 by 0747 GMT, with the German DAX,
which is dominated by companies heavily dependent on Russian
energy, down 0.8 percent.
Equities fell after reports that Russian troops were massing
at the eastern Ukrainian border, where pro-Moscow rebels are in
conflict with the Ukrainian government - ratcheting up
geopolitical tension in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also ordered his government
to prepare retaliatory measures against the latest round of
Western sanctions, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.
"The latest catalyst seems to be this sabre-rattling at the
border, and the market just has no upward momentum. This talk of
tit for tat sanctions is also adding to the risk-off tone,"
Jeremy Batstone-Carr, analyst at Charles Stanley, said.
The DAX is now down 9 percent since early July.
However, shares bounced off their early lows, and while
volatility, a crude gauge of investor fear, ticked
higher, it rose by a relatively modest 2.7 percent.
The top faller on the FTSEurofirst 300 was Hannover Re
. It dropped 3.6 percent after the German reinsurer
said its net profit rose 10 percent to 211.5 million euros ($283
million) in the second quarter, slightly less than expected, as
Fellow reinsurer Swiss Re also declined, by 2.3
percent, after missing profit expectations.
With two-thirds of STOXX Europe 600 companies
having reported results, 44 percent have missed expectations,
compared to just 26 percent of companies on the U.S. S&P 500
that have fallen short of estimates, according to Thomson
Reuters StarMine data.
However, some companies produced positive surprises on
Wednesday, with Belgian insurer Ages beating
second-quarter profit expectations due to a sharp rise in life
Ages rose 4.3 percent after the results, and the company
also announced a new 250 million euro ($334.1 million) share
The banking arm of Dutch financial giant ING was
another gainer, rising 1.8 percent after it beat earnings
forecasts in the second quarter, returning underlying pretax
profits of 1.278 billion euros against the 1.137 billion euros
expected by analysts.
"We are positive on ING, and expect return on tangible
equity to rise to 13 percent by 2016 as loan losses normalise
and the Dutch economy continues to recover," analysts at Societe
Generale said in a note, describing the update as the "strongest
quarterly result in several years."
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)