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EDINBURGH, July 21 (Reuters) - European stocks held steady in early trade on Monday, with Tesco boosted after the resignation of its chief executive, although sensitivity to ongoing tension in Ukraine kept a lid on the market.
Tesco gained 2.2 percent to add the most points to the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 after it said Chief Executive Philip Clarke would step down after Britain's biggest retailer, bringing an end to a disastrous three years in charge.
Rivals WM Morrison and Sainsbury fell 1.7 percent and 1.5 percent, the top fallers on the index, as traders said Tesco's new leader may be able to turn Tesco, which has just issued a profit warning, around.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 equity index edged down 0.1 percent to 1,361.61 points, coming under pressure as investors continued to track events in Ukraine closely.
The FTSEurofirst 300 ended flat on Friday, with volatility falling during the day as the loss of the Malaysian jet with 298 people aboard was seen as intensifying international pressure to resolve the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
However, stocks fell away on Monday morning as explosions were heard in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)