merger or takeover in the future.
With PEs at mutli-year highs companies are under pressure to meet expectations.
56 percent of companies in Europe have so far met or beaten earnings expectations in the fourth-quarter, although year-on-year fourth-quarter earnings have contracted 22.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters (TRS) data.
Those corporate which disappoint at the earnings level continue to be punished by the market. Those that have missed earnings expectation have underperformed by an average of 2 percent, according to TRS data.
Swedish medical technology group Getinge shed 4.8 percent after it pushed back its profit margin target by one to two years.
Imperial Tobacco fell 2 percent after Investec cut its rating to "hold" from "buy" on worries profits could be squeezed as planned cost optimisation looks challenging when the company starts with some of the best margins in the industry.
"We don't think a take-out is imminent enough and while Imperial Tobacco looks 'cheap', it doesn't look that cheap in the current Darwinian climate," Investec said in a note.