European shares hit by China weakness in luxury drink sales

jueves 17 de abril de 2014 04:08 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.3 pct

* Remy Cointreau, Diageo report weak China demand

* Euro strength knocks back SAP outlook

* Major European markets shut on Friday, Monday

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Thursday, weighed down by weakness in luxury drinks after a crackdown on gift giving in China knocked beverage company earnings, in quiet trade ahead of a public holiday.

Concerns over a strong euro also hit company earnings, confirming a poor start to the earnings season in Europe.

Remy Cointreau dropped 6.6 percent after it warned full-year operating profit would plunge as much as 40 percent. Cognac sales sank 32 percent in the fourth quarter as the Chinese government cracked down on ostentatious spending.

Weakness in Asia also affected Diageo. It fell 4.8 percent to drop to the bottom of the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 after reporting a a 1.3 percent decline in third-quarter organic net sales on Thursday.   Continuación...