* FTSEurofirst 300 retreats 0.3 pct
* Luxury stocks among worst performers
* Finnish group Kone also slumps
* Volvo surges higher after naming new CEO
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, April 22 (Reuters) - Company earnings depressed Europe’s regional stock indexes on Wednesday, with the luxury sector dragging on the market.
Luxury groups Richemont and Kering were among the worst performers after Richemont warned its net profit for the year would drop by 36 percent and Kering’s sales dropped by more than expected.
Kering fell 6.1 percent while Richemont weakened by 1.1 percent. Finnish elevator company Kone also slumped 6 percent after warning of uncertainty in its main China market and posting weaker than expected profits.
British supermarket operator Tesco also fell after reporting its worst ever loss.
Tesco’s shares had initially risen as much as 2.4 percent, with some traders expressing relief at Tesco’s determination to restructure its business, but the stock then lost ground as more pessimism set in, with one major institutional investorsaying that the results were as ugly as feared.
Kering was among the worst performers on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was down by 0.3 percent at 1,623.39 points by the middle of the trading session.
“I‘m short on the markets here. There are a lot of negative factors coming together, such as the weak earnings and the ongoing worries over Greece,” said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu.
Shut out of bond markets, Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy and could run out of cash in weeks unless it strikes a deal with foreign creditors to unlock further bailout aid.
The Athens stock market rose 2.1 percent on Wednesday after the European Central Bank (ECB) raised its emergency funding cap for Greek banks to 75.5 billion euros, according to a source, but some traders remained wary about Greece.
“With no chance of a deal at Friday’s Eurogroup meeting in Riga, Greece has missed its latest chance to show genuine intent in regards to reforms, leaving it friendless, penniless and pretty much hopeless,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
Among standout gainers, shares in Volvo jumped 15 percent after the company named the head of Volkswagen-owned Scania as its chief executive.
In spite of the pullback on Wednesday, the backdrop of a weak euro and monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank’s bond-buying scheme has fuelled investor demand for equities.
Germany’s DAX remains near record highs while the FTSEurofirst 300 is also near its highest level in more than 14 years. The FTSEurofirst has risen 19 percent so far this year.
“We are generally quite bullish on western Europe at the moment here, and have been buyers in particular of German and French equities,” Sanlam Securities’ head of execution trading Mark Ward said.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Mark Heinrich)