European shares dip in choppy trade after Greek debt talks break down
* FTSEurofirst falls 0.3 pct * Greek shares volatile; traders upbeat on chances of a deal * Telecoms hindered by Orange * Danish jewellery maker Pandora surges after earnings beat (Adds quote, detail) By Alistair Smout LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Greek stocks fell on Tuesday, weighing on broader European indexes, after debt talks between Athens and its euro zone peers broke down, putting the country's future in the shared-currency bloc at risk. The main Athens index fell as much as 4.7 percent after the open. It then recovered the lost ground only to drop once more, leaving it 2 percent down by 1451 GMT. After the market close on Monday, Greece rejected a proposal for a six-month extension of its international bailout package as "unacceptable", setting it at odds with its creditors. However, Greece said it was "cautiously optimistic" a deal would be found, and traders said that the market was pricing in the prospect of a last minute deal. "The costs of a Greek exit are so great for Greece, they will eventually strike a deal. Yesterday's meeting should not bee seen as a failure but more part of a necessary process" James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts, said. "While... the impact on euro zone economic growth of Greece leaving would be minimal, the concern is that a Greek exit could undermine confidence in the whole euro project." Greek banks dropped 9.3 percent early in the session, but recovered slightly and were down 5.1 percent at 1450 GMT. In all, the Euro STOXX 50 was down 0.5 percent, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.3 percent at 1,497.61 points. Shares were also hindered by some disappointing earnings reports. Telecom Orange, which hit a four-year high on Monday, fell 2.6 percent after predicting operating profit would fall slightly this year amid continued tough competition in its key home market of France. Dutch logistics company TNT Express warned on Tuesday that it expected adverse trading conditions to continue in its main western European markets this year after reporting a fourth-quarter net loss, sending its shares down more than 10 percent. Among top risers, Danish jewellery maker and retailer Pandora surged 16.6 percent after it reported fourth-quarter operating profit above expectations and said its profit margin will rise in 2015. In all, of the 35 percent of STOXX Europe companies to have reported earnings so far, 58 percent have beaten or met expectations. Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v Today's European research round-up (Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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