* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.4 percent after 5 days of gains
* Recent run-up underpinned by monetary stimulus hopes
* PPR falls on earnings miss, weak China sales
* Ocado down as grocer dampens Morrison bid speculation
By David Brett
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - European shares opened lower on
Friday, with disappointing earnings encouraging investors to
book profits after five straight sessions of gains.
By 0726 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 6.40
points, or 0.5 percent, at 1,194.24. Having gained 4.6 percent
over the previous week, the index is approaching the five-year
high of 1,207 it hit in late March before selling off.
The recent gains have been driven by expectations that
central banks will provide extra economic stimulus following
weak data - particularly the European Central Bank when it meets
"Investors are implicitly placing further faith in the ECB
to deliver monetary support at next week's meeting," Ian
Williams, strategist at Peel Hunt, said.
"There remains scope for disappointment on that front with
at least a 25 basis point repo rate cut priced into risk
Traders also said a cut to the ECB's refinancing rate is the
least the market is expecting, though its impact on growth was
likely to be limited.
Miners, which are particularly sensitive to
changing economic conditions, led the index lower, shedding 1.7
Monetary stimulus erodes the yield value of fixed income
assets, encouraging investments in a stock market in which a
bubble could form if corporate earnings flag.
Thomson Reuters StarMine data showed 51 percent of the STOXX
Europe 600 companies that have announced results so far
have missed analysts' forecasts, lagging the United States,
where only 27 percent companies have missed predictions.
French fashion firm and luxury goods group PPR
missed first-quarter sales forecasts, hit by sluggish trading in
Europe and slower growth in China. Its stock fell 5.3
Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent shed 0.4
percent after posting a first-quarter loss, while Norwegian
telecoms company Telenor fell 3 percent after lowering
its revenue growth outlook after a slower quarter.
Norwegian insurer Gjensidige was the top faller in
Europe, down 6.3 percent after taking a write down of 611
million Norwegian crowns ($103.92 million) on its investments in
fellow insurer Storebrand.
The murky economic climate has also made for a difficult
environment for mergers and acquisitions, which fell to 10-year
lows in the first quarter of 2013, according to Thomson Reuters
Online Grocer Ocado shed 5 percent after it poured
cold water on market chatter that Britain's no.4 supermarket
chain Wm Morrison would make a move to acquire the