* Pan-European FTSEurofirst index falls 0.4 pct
* PMI surveys depress market sentiment
* Ericsson, Bilfinger slump; Michelin surges (Updates prices)
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - European shares slipped on Thursday, with Germany’s DAX index underperforming following a disappointing purchasing managers’ survey while weak results from Ericsson hit technology stocks.
Tech shares were hit as telecom equipment maker Ericsson slumped 10.3 percent after it posted weaker-than-forecast first-quarter operating profit and said it expected sales in its main North American market to stay sluggish.
The STOXX Europe 600 Tech index dropped 2.1 percent.
After opening higher on the back of some positive company updates, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.4 percent at 1,622.73 points by 1404 GMT.
Euro zone purchasing managers’ surveys disappointed investors with the German PMI index falling to 54.2 from March’s eight-month high of 55.4, while France’s PMI showed a slower expansion than forecast in the services sector and a faster contraction than expected in manufacturing.
“Even though there is a clear improvement on the economic front in Europe, the game is not won,” BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets’ head of research, Philippe Gijsels, said.
“The market’s reaction after German and French surveys shows that equities are vulnerable to disappointing economic figures.”
Germany’s benchmark DAX index fell 0.8 percent.
Among standout stock movers, German building services firm Bilfinger slumped 14.3 percent after issuing its fifth profit warning in less than a year after the market close on Wednesday, saying its U.S. oil and gas business was faring worse than expected and demand in its power plant business remained weak.
Swiss Re fell 9.5 percent after shares in the world’s No. 2 reinsurer traded without the attraction of its latest dividend payouts.
Investors kept a close eye on Greece’s debt situation, which has created volatility in financial markets in recent weeks. Shut out of bond markets and fast running out of cash, Greece faces big redemptions to the European Central Bank as remaining bailout money stays locked until it agrees with creditors on reforms.
However, there were positive updates from some companies.
Shares in tyre maker Michelin jumped 6.2 percent, making them top gainer in the FTSEurofirst 300, after first-quarter revenue rose 5.6 percent, boosted by a weaker euro.
French spirits maker Pernod Ricard climbed 2.2 percent after posting better-than-expected third-quarter sales, reflecting improving cognac sales in China, its second-largest market, and also stronger sales in the Americas. (Editing by Louise Ireland and Toby Chopra)