October 20, 2014 / 11:21 AM / 3 years ago

European stocks trim Friday's gains; SAP drops after profit warning

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.8 pct

* Tech sector weaker with Gemalto also slumping

* Nutreco, Adidas, Havas surge on M&A activity (Adds quote, detail, updates prices)

By Alistair Smout

EDINBURGH, Oct 20 (Reuters) - European stocks fell early on Monday, trimming lofty gains made in the previous session, with SAP’s profit warning hitting shares in the tech sector.

Shares in the German business software maker fell 4.1 percent after it cut its outlook for full-year operating profit, echoing a raft of profit and sales warnings from other tech groups in the past few weeks.

Dutch tech firm Gemalto plunged 6.1 percent after Barclays cut the stock to underweight from overweight, and with SAP it was a top faller on the STOXX 600 Technology index , which was down 2 percent.

SAP was the worst performer on the German DAX, which fell 1.4 percent, lagging other major European stock indexes. It has dropped 7.7 percent so far in October, after data called into question Germany’s economic resilience.

Both the technology sector and German blue-chip index are very sensitive to economic growth, or highly “cyclical”.

“It’s all about growth at the moment. Cyclicals have been underperforming in recent months ... (and) with respect to SAP, it’s a result of the business investment climate,” Mike Ingram, market strategist at BGC Partners, said.

“People don’t think that the broad-based acceleration in global economic growth, expected at the start of the year, is going to pan out.”

Ingram added that the DAX’s high exposure to growth-sensitive stocks would keep it under pressure in the coming weeks.

At 1104 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.8 percent at 1,269.66 points.

That trimmed a sharp 2.8 percent rise on Friday following reassuring U.S. macroeconomic data, although some analysts said the market was still relatively stable after the U.S. data had halted a previous sell-off in European shares.

“Calm returns after last week’s roller-coaster ride,” Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni said. “U.S. macro data is reassuring (and) the earnings season has been quite good so far.”

Shares in Electrolux jumped 6.3 percent after the home appliances maker reported forecast-beating quarterly profits.

The market’s losses were also limited by brisk M&A activity, boosting the shares of Nutreco, Adidas and Havas.

Shares in Dutch animal feed and nutrition company Nutreco soared 40 percent after a Dutch investment firm said it had agreed to acquire the group.

German sportswear firm Adidas AG surged 4.3 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported that an investor group was planning a bid to buy Adidas’s Reebok unit.

Havas also rose, by 4.7 percent, after French tycoon Vincent Bollore launched an exchange offer on the stock on Friday with a view to gaining control of the world’s sixth-largest advertising company. Shares in Groupe Bollore dropped 8.5 percent.

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 Blaise Robinson; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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