* Syngenta rises after agreeing on ChemChina bid
* Fortum, KPN fall after weak earnings
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 3 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday as weak earnings from some leading companies weighed on markets, although Syngenta surged after ChemChina made a $43 billion bid for the Swiss seeds and pesticides group.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which fell 2 percent on Tuesday, was down by 0.4 percent in early trading. The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.5 percent and Germany’s DAX 0.7 percent.
Finnish state-controlled utility Fortum slumped 8.9 percent after posting fourth-quarter earnings dropped more expected. Dutch telecoms group KPN also fell after reporting worse-than-expected core earnings.
However, Syngenta rose 6.8 percent after China’s state-owned ChemChina said it buy the Swiss company for $43 billion, the largest-ever overseas acquisition by a Chinese company.
Luxury goods group LVMH also climbed 6.1 percent after reporting fourth-quarter sales grew more than expected, but watch-maker Swatch fell after it reported lower profits and sales.
Of the companies on the European STOXX 600 index that have reported earnings so far, 57 percent have beaten or met market expectations and 43 have missed, according to data from Thomson Reuters StarMine.
“It’s been a very mixed bag on the earnings front. Personally, I think a lot of them have been quite disappointing,” said Terry Torrison, managing director at Monaco-based McLaren Securities.
Both the FTSEurofirst and DAX are down about 10 percent this year. World stock markets in general have been hit by signs of a slowdown in China, the world’s second-biggest economy and a major consumer of oil and metals.
The DAX is also some 20 percent below a record high reached in April 2015, but City of London Markets’ trader Markus Huber said it might still be too risky to buy into European stock markets at current levels.
“Much lower prices might be needed in order for sentiment to turn and bargain hunters to be tempted back into the markets,” Huber said.
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Larry King)