Earnings worries hit European shares
* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.5 pct to 1,092.35 points
* Euro STOXX 50 falls 0.7 pct to 2,478.13 points
* Traders cite worries over corporate results, Spain
LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - European shares fell for the first time in four sessions on Monday, hit by worries over weak company results. Analysts expected equities to make little progress this week, with volumes expected to be low given the closure of U.S. stock and options markets due to Hurricane Sandy.. The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.5 percent to 1,092.35 points and the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.7 percent to 2,478.13 points. Spain's IBEX stock market outperformed the broader market, dipping 0.2 percent after European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said the country had no immediate need of help from the bank's planned new bond-buying programme.
Madrid is under pressure to seek a financial rescue that would trigger ECB bond purchases, and uncertainty over how the country will resolve its debt problems continues to weigh on the market. ``Spain remains a problem,'' said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Reyl. Savary remained ``underweight'' on European equities, with Reyl having increased its exposure to emerging market equities in recent weeks. He would consider buying European shares if the Euro STOXX 50 fell to the 2,400 point level.
WEAK COMPANY RESULTS Traders said results from Europe's top companies were pegging back stock markets. ``Corporate earnings are still weighing on sentiment,'' said Adrian Slack, head of equities at Bastion Capital. According to Thomson Reuters Starmine data, 47 percent of the companies on the European STOXX 600 index to have reported earnings have performed below expectations. The Euro STOXX 50 index fell below its 50-day simple moving average level of roughly 2,500 points - which some traders take as a sign to sell an index - but remained above its 100 and 200-day simple moving average at roughly 2,400 points. Henning Gebhardt, DWS Investments' head of European equities, backed ``defensive'' equity sectors such as food or healthcare - seen as most resilient in a weak economy - over ``cyclical'' sectors such as banks or miners. ``We have a tendency to be more defensive,'' he said.