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Paris - European shares dipped early on Tuesday, halting the previous day's rebound as tensions over Ukraine resurfaced, with the impact of the crisis expected to weigh on a German sentiment indicator.
A convoy of 280 trucks Russia said was carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine set off late from near Moscow on Tuesday amid Western warnings against using help as a pretext for an invasion.
Ukraine also reported that Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border.
“Russia's convoy is adding fuel to the fire. We don't know what Moscow's real intentions are, and risks of an escalation of the conflict are real,” said Lionel Jardin, head of institutional sales at Assya Capital, in Paris.
“What's worrying is that this crisis has started to hit the European economy, and the ZEW today will probably reflect that.”
The German investor sentiment index, which is expected to have fallen, should offer insight into the country's economic outlook and the potential impact from the tensions in Ukraine.
The ZEW comes a week after data showed Germany's monthly industrial orders falling at their steepest rate since September 2011 as euro zone demand weakened and bulk orders were below average, with the Economy Ministry suggesting this was in part due to uncertainty over the Ukraine crisis.
At 09:54 SA time, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,320.94 points, after rising 1.3 percent on Monday.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.3 percent at 3,038.26.
The impact of tensions between Moscow and the West and Russia were visible in the corporate sector on Tuesday, with German consumer goods group Henkel warning that earnings growth would slow in the second half of the year in part due to the frictions between Russia and Ukraine.
The warning sent Henkel shares down 3.2 percent.
Fighting in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, a major energy supplier to Europe, have muddied the forecasts of a number of multinationals including BP, Adidas and Rheinmetall.
Shares in Danish jewellery maker and retailer Pandora surged 8.5 percent after it posted better-than-expected second-quarter results, leading it to raise
its 2014 revenue forecast.
As Europe's earnings season draws to a close, STOXX Europe 600 companies have posted a 9.7 percent rise in second-quarter profits on average, but revenues have slipped 1.1 percent, reflecting Europe's frustratingly slow economic recovery. - Reuters