* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.6 percent
* Michelin and Unilever fall, flagging weak EM demand
* Strong PMIs from Germany and euro zone support index (Recasts, adds quote, detail)
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, Oct 23 (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Thursday, hindered by weak corporate results from companies including French tyre-maker Michelin, despite receiving support from better-than-expected euro zone business activity data.
Michelin and Unilever cited poor demand from emerging markets as the former cut its full-year revenue goal and the latter reported weaker-than-expected quarterly sales. Unilever’s London-listed shares were down 2.4 percent.
”“I think there still is going to be earnings growth, but there is some evidence that international operations are weak,” said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets.
“Euro zone economies still aren’t convincingly strong, and emerging markets aren’t providing much respite either.”
Britain’s biggest grocer Tesco and French advertising group Publicis also fell sharply after reporting disappointing numbers.
Tesco and Michelin were the biggest fallers on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, both slipping 5.2 percent.
The index was down 0.6 percent to 1,300.47 by 1100 GMT.
Of the STOXX Europe 600 companies to report results so far this quarter, 36 percent of companies have missed expectations, compared to 29 percent on Wall Street’s S&P 500 .
Among a handful of outperformers, Finland’s Nokia beat market expectations as it reported strong third-quarter profit growth and lifted the profitability outlook for its core network unit on the back of network roll-outs in North America and China, sending its shares up 3.7 percent.
Danish industrial enzymes maker Novozymes also reported third-quarter earnings above expectations and raised its full-year outlook for operating profit growth. Its shares rose 6.6 percent.
The market briefly turned flat after data from the euro zone showed that businesses performed much better than expected this month.
However, they did so by slashing prices again, and optimism about the future fell to its lowest level in over a year, surveys showed on Thursday.
Earlier data showed Germany’s activity increased in both the manufacturing and services industries, but France’s business downturn deteriorated.
The German DAX outperformed European peers, falling just 0.2 percent.
“Germany saved the day but people are still bearish and I think we are going to see some more weakness,” said Mike Reuter, a broker at Tradition.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; editing by Andrew Roche)