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EU stocks slide; Adidas sparks Ukraine worries

LONDON/HONG KONG -- European stocks sank on Thursday as investors digested a barrage of results, with Frankfurt sliding after German sportswear giant Adidas issued a gloomy profits warning linked to the crisis in Ukraine.

Investor sentiment remained cautious on the eve of the crucial U.S. non-farm payrolls data, which is a major indicator of the health of the world's biggest economy.

In early afternoon deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.18 percent to stand at 6,760.88 points, the Paris CAC 40 lost 0.75 percent to 4,280.92 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed 0.91 percent to 9,506.42.

Lisbon stocks fell 3.0 percent, driven by a 45-percent slump in shares of stricken Portuguese bank Banco Espirito Santo (BES), which posted a record first-half loss of 3.57 billion euros late on Wednesday.

Adidas shares plunged 12.92 percent to 61.13 euros, topping the DAX fallers board on Thursday, after warning that the Ukraine crisis and Western tensions with Russia, one of its key markets, would weigh on its business.

Adidas also slashed its annual net profit forecast to about 650 million euros (US$870 million). That was much lower than previous guidance for between 830-930 million euros.

In London, Britain's state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group saw its share price slide 2.74 percent to 74.32 pence after posting a 57-percent drop in first-half net profits.

Earnings after taxation dived to 665 million pounds (US$1.125 billion, 840 million euros) in the six months to June, hit by compensation for insurance mis-selling and fines over Libor rate rigging.

London's top gainer was energy major Royal Dutch Shell, whose “B” share price rallied 3.76 percent to 2,582.57 pence after revealing that net profits more than tripled in the second quarter, boosted by asset sales and higher oil prices.

Earnings after taxation soared by 206 percent to US$5.307 billion (3.961 billion euros) in the three months to June compared the same part of 2013.

Asian markets were mixed Thursday after U.S. data showing the world's top economy grew much more than expected in the second quarter was offset by late profit-taking.

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