* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.3 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.5 pct
* BASF tumbles after warnings on profit outlook
* 51 pct of European firms meet or beat forecasts so far
* Little reaction to improved German business sentiment data
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, July 25 (Reuters) - European shares dipped early on
Thursday, slipping from eight-week highs hit in the previous
day, as a batch of mixed results from blue-chips like Unilever
and BASF prompted investors to book some
At 0754 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,211.39 points, while
the euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.5
percent at 2,740.36 points.
Stocks were little changed after later data showed German
business morale rose slightly more than expected in July,
inching higher for a third straight month.
Shares in Unilever fell 1.5 percent after the consumer goods
giant reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales and warned
that growth was slowing in emerging markets.
Germany's BASF dropped 4 percent after the
world's largest chemicals company by sales said meeting its
profit target for the year will be "significantly more
challenging" than it had previously expected.
French telecom group Orange also featured among
the big fallers, losing 4.4 percent after it disclosed that it
would pay 2.14 billion euros ($2.83 billion) to the French state
over a tax dispute on which it intended to appeal.
"Overall, the earnings season isn't too bad, but there's a
lot of nervousness on the market after the 10 percent rally
we've just got, with very few buyers left," said Guillaume
Dumans, co-ahead of 2Bremans, a Paris-based research firm using
behavioural finance to monitor investor sentiment.
"We expect some profit-taking today, that's what our
indicator shows. Volumes are also drying up with many market
players going on holidays, which can potentially exacerbate the
About 23 percent of the STOXX Europe 600 companies
have reported second-quarter results so far this earnings
season, with 51 percent of the firms meeting or beating profit
forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. On
revenues, 63 percent of the firms have met or beaten forecasts.
Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index was down 0.3
percent, Germany's DAX index down 0.6 percent, and
France's CAC 40 down 0.2 percent.
Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier saw a potential
consolidation period starting on indexes, although he regarded
the medium-term trend as remaining positive, with the Euro STOXX
50 still trading above its 50-day moving average, a key support
"People should be cautious in the short term, but the
pull-backs in Europe will be good buying opportunities," Sagnier