(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details) Adds closing prices)
* FTSEurofirst 300 index drops 0.45 percent
* JC Decaux slumps as brokers cut estimates on stock
* Raiffeisen drops as merger plan unsettles some investors
* Banco Popolare touches record low after surprise loss
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni
LONDON/MILAN, May 11 (Reuters) - European shares slipped on Wednesday as some weak earnings reports pushed the market lower after two days of gains.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the European STOXX 600 index ended both down by 0.45 percent.
Among the worst performers was outdoor advertising group JC Decaux. The stock slumped 10 percent after a weak second-quarter outlook led several investment banks to cut their ratings and price targets on the shares.
Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank also dropped by 10 percent on concerns over its plans to merge with its unlisted parent company Raiffeisen Zentralbank.
However, shares in Norwegian publishing company Schibsted surged 12.2 percent after the company reported first-quarter core earnings above expectations.
Thomson Reuters StarMine data show 60 percent of companies on the STOXX 600 index have met or beaten forecasts with their quarterly earnings so far, in many cases by cutting costs to offset falling revenues. But the FTSEurofirst 300 index is down nearly 10 percent so far in 2016,
“I’m still in the bearish camp, and I think that any rallies on the market are for selling. Some company results have beaten expectations, but you have to remember by just how much some of these expectations had already been lowered,” said Terry Torrison, managing director at Monaco-based McLaren Securities.
Shares in Banco Popolare fell 9 percent to a record low. The Italian bank reported an unexpected first-quarter loss Tuesday night because of loan writedowns, the main concern over Italian banks.
Poste Italiane fell 2 percent after Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said the government may sell some of its 65 percent share in the recently listed post office. A trader at an Italian bank said current market conditions mean the sale might happen in September.
Today’s European research round-up
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editing by Richard Balmforth