New Ukraine worries hit German DAX and European equities
* New Ukraine worries cause DAX to underperform
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.3 pct, erasing earlier gains
* Alstom surges on GE bid speculation
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - New signs of an escalation in tensions in Ukraine hit European stock markets on Thursday, with Germany's DAX index underperforming the broader market pullback.
German and Austrian companies are among the most exposed in Europe to Russia and Ukraine, and the DAX fell 1.2 percent while Vienna's benchmark ATX equity index declined by 0.9 percent.
Both indexes fell after Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Russia had started military drills near the Ukrainian border on Thursday, in response to operations by Ukrainian forces against pro-Russian separatists and NATO exercises in eastern Europe.
The fall in the DAX weighed on the broader, pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was down by 0.3 percent at 1,335.01 points in late session trading.
The FTSEurofirst had earlier been pushed higher by signs of a resurgence in corporate takeover activity. Andreas Clenow, hedge fund trader and principal at ACIES Asset Management, said he saw the Ukraine situation as causing short-term pullbacks rather than a more prolonged setback. Continuación...