LONDON May 16 Weak earnings from the likes of
Zurich Insurance Group helped drag European shares
lower early on Thursday, although investors hunger for yield
amid easy global monetary policy kept indexes at multi-year
Zurich Insurance Group fell 1.2 percent after
missing analyst expectations on Thursday with a 7 percent fall
in first-quarter net profit.
Around 53 percent of European companies have so far
missed earnings expectations for the most recent quarter,
according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.
At 0706 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.2
percent at 1,243.63.
It set five-year highs in the previous session, when weak
economic growth raised speculation that the European Central
Bank would consider more measures to boost the sluggish economy.
"Markets have rallied hard recently and in a low interest
rate environment and with quantitative easing measures in place,
equities are still the place to be," Jawaid Afsar, sales trader
at SecurEquity, said.