London - Europe's main equity indexes were little changed on Tuesday, with the construction-materials group Saint-Gobain among the biggest losers, as caution prevailed before the first-quarter earnings season opens.

Saint-Gobain fell 3 percent as French insurer Groupama sold its 1.8 percent stake in Europe's biggest supplier of construction materials.

The shares went for around 44.50 euros, a 3.2 percent discount to their closing price on Friday.

“We thought the price was quite low, and we had a few clients getting out of their positions (in Saint Gobain),” Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital said.

The stock's decline was among the biggest on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, which was flat at 1,336.45 points.

The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.1 percent at 3,187.59 points at 10:44 SA time.

Both indexes reported their worst daily drop in a month on Monday.

Investors were taking profit on some of the best performers during a rally in recent weeks, such as French retailer Carrefour.

They feared the market had got ahead of itself and the upcoming first-quarter results would expose fundamental weaknesses.

Shares in Carrefour fell 1.7 percent before the company reports results on April 10.

They had risen nearly 20 percent between late January and last week.

The Moulin family, which controls French department store Galeries Lafayette, said late on Monday it had bought a 6.1 pct stake in the supermarket.

The purchase was seen as a vote of confidence in Carrefour's strategy, but also triggered some profit-taking after the recent rise.

“The share rise ... was perhaps helped by the purchase in the market by the Moulin family, so the shares decline a little today,” said Christian Devises, an analyst at CM-CIC Securities.

The family would not be able to increase its stake in Carrefour significantly, he said.

“Carrefour is going to report its quarterly figure the day after tomorrow and nobody expects good figures.” - Reuters