* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.7 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.7 pct
* Positive results from Danone, LVMH help limit losses
* Pharmas hurt as AbbVie bid for Shire in doubt
* Recent pull-back is ‘buying opportunity’ -Amundi’s Boscher
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Wednesday, with a benchmark index hovering above an eight-month low hit in the previous session, as brewing concerns over the strength of the global economy continued to spook investors.
However, reassuring results from two bellwethers, food giant Danone and luxury group LVMH, helped soothe worries over the outlook for corporate results in Europe as the earnings season kicks off.
Shares in Danone rose 3.4 percent after it posted a better-than-expected rise in third-quarter sales, helped by improving baby food sales in Asia where the French food group is seeking to recover from a health scare last year.
Shares in LVMH rose 1 percent after the world’s biggest luxury group reported improved sales growth for the third quarter, as stronger trading in Europe and the United States helped make up for weakness in Asia.
“We find this was not a good set of numbers but not the disaster feared,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note. The bank has a “overweight” rating on the stock.
LVMH’s encouraging results come after Mulberry issued on Tuesday its third profit warning this year and Burberry said trading in major markets such as China had worsened in recent weeks.
Shares in oil majors featured among the top losers, with Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Repsol down 1.2-1.8 percent, as Brent crude extended its recent slide and dropped below $84 a barrel, dragged by faltering global growth which curbs demand for fuel at a time of heavy oversupply.
Pharma stocks also featured among the top losers after U.S. group AbbVie Inc said it was having second thoughts about bidding for British peer Shire due to changing U.S. tax regulations, sending shares in Shire tumbling 26 percent.
At 1030 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.7 percent at 1,283.60 points.
Despite the day’s losses, the index remained above an eight-month low hit on Tuesday, fuelling hopes among a number of fund managers that the recent 10 percent pull-back was coming to an end.
“A new recession in Europe has now been priced in, and the correction in stocks is getting close to an end. We now see good entry points, not exit points,” said Romain Boscher, global head of equities management at Amundi, which has 821 billion euros ($1.04 trillion) under management.
“Even with no economic growth in Europe, there are plenty of positive factors supporting equities: very low refinancing costs for companies, a sliding euro which will boost margins, and very attractive dividend yields compared with what investors get in the fixed income space.”
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Toby Chopra)