European shares fall as Ukraine crisis hits local earnings

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) - European stocks fell at the open on Wednesday, hit by heavy losses on Wall Street and as results from local blue chips such as brewer Carlsberg (Other OTC: CABGY - news) and French bank Societe Generale (Paris: FR0000130809 - news) showed the Ukraine crisis was starting to hurt large western companies.

At 0714 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.3 percent at 1,339.57 points. It mirrored a selloff on Wall Street, where Twitter (NYSE: TWTR - news) led a rout in tech stocks with a 17.8 percent tumble after the expiration of a six-month "lock-up" period.

In a sign of the direct impact of the Ukraine crisis on European companies, France's No. 2 listed bank Societe Generale booked a 525 million euro ($731 million) writedown on the value of its Russian unit Rosbank (MCX: ROSB.ME - news) blaming heightened uncertainty and a decline in the Russian rouble. Its shares fell 2 percent.

Danish brewer Carlsberg, one of Europe's blue-chips with the highest exposure to Russia, fell 2.2 percent as it partly blamed currency volatility in Russia for a fall in its first-quarter operating profit. The group also lowered its full-year net profit guidance.

"Overall these warnings had to be expected and there will likely to be more of them," Markus Huber, a senior sales trader at Peregrine & Black, said.

"It will be important to see if other sectors will start warning too especially car manufacturers for whom Russia is a very important market." (Reporting By Francesco Canepa)