* FTSEurofirst 300 falls after weak German, French data
* Germany's DAX down 0.3 pct, France's CAC down 0.5 pct
* Strong German results help limit market losses
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, Aug 14 European stocks opened lower on
Thursday as disappointing economic output data from the euro
zone's two largest economies dashed hopes for a more solid
recovery in the currency bloc.
By 0712 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
was 0.3 percent lower at 1,322.09 points, Germany's DAX
also fell 0.3 percent and France's CAC dropped
The German economy suffered a surprise contraction, its
first in more than a year, in the three months to June and
France slashed its growth forecasts for this year and the next
after its economy failed to grow in the second quarter.
"Data is getting weaker and this is no longer an environment
where we are overweight equities," said strategist Matthias
Thiel at M.M.Warburg & CO in Hamburg, who turned "neutral" on
European equities last week.
"Especially the German data is disappointing and this is why
we see more risk to our scenario that there is a moderate
recovery in the euro zone."
A flash estimate of second-quarter euro zone economic growth
is due at 0900 GMT. Economists had expected euro zone GDP to
have expanded by 0.2 percent on the quarter in the three months
to June, the same pace as seen in the first quarter.
While the weak data clouded the macro economic picture in
the euro zone, it was also seen shortening the odds of a move by
the European Central Bank to shore up the economy via an
asset-purchase programme, which would drive up share prices.
Some strong German corporate results also provided some
support to the market.
TUI AG rallied 3.4 percent after it said it is
very confident its full-year results will reach the upper end of
its target forecast after third quarter profits almost doubled.
German potash miner K+S surged 2.3 percent after
recording higher-than-expected earnings before interest and tax
in the second quarter.
Shares in steelmaker ThyssenKrupp added 0.8
percent as the German group said it may return to a net profit
this year, raising its outlook for a second time after
restructuring at its steel mill in Brazil paid off and demand
for elevators and chemicals plants bolstered earnings.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Louise Ireland)