* European shares drop on economic growth concerns
* STOXX 600 down 0.2%; DAX -0.4%; FTSE -0.5%
* German economy narrowly escapes recession Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Julien Ponthus. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: rm://email@example.com
GERMAN GDP: WOULD A BAD NUMBER BEEN BETTER? (1134 GMT)
Europe's No. 1 economy is stagnating and while its feeble 0.1% growth rate in Q3 was better than expected, avoiding Germany a technical recession, markets aren't taking any joy from that.
Uncertainty over a Sino-U.S. trade deal is playing a big role in keeping investors on edge, but it can also be argued that only slight deviations versus forecasts can do no good in convincing reluctant investors to join the "buy Europe" trade.
Take Matthew Cady, investment strategist at Brooks Macdonald, who wonders "ironically" whether a weaker number would have actually been better for markets.
"Against increasingly vocal calls from ECB presidents past (Draghi) and present (Lagarde), the German policy makers have resisted the idea of moving away from their 'black-zero' balanced budget rule, in order to fund a sizable fiscal expansion," he said.
"That today’s number is better than slightly expected is potentially the worst of both worlds... not strong enough to assuage growth fears in the Eurozone and not weak enough to push Germany into a meaningful fiscal response," he adds.
And it's this standoff between monetary and fiscal co-ordination that contributes to Brooks Macdonald's underweight stance in the region.
OPENING SNAPSHOT: QIAGEN STANDS OUT (0845 GMT)
After 45 minutes of trading or so, European bourses seem to have chosen a downward path even if the directional trend doesn't seem to be written in stone. Most regional benchmarks are trading in the red while the STOXX 600 is down 0.1%.
As expected, the spotlight is on the shares of genetic testing co which is up about 10% after a Bloomberg report saying instruments maker Thermo Fisher Scientific had made an approach.
Second on the STOXX 600's top gainers is British luxury brand Burberry which managed to offset double-digit declines in Hong Kong thanks to the popularity of collections by designer Riccardo Tisci.
Among other Q3 results, a few financial groups are having a good day: Dutch insurer NN Group is up 3% and Belgium's KBC 2.8%.
The big loser in terms of sector are autos notably due to Daimler, down 2.7% after the German carmaker said tougher emissions rules would hit earnings in 2020 and 2021.
NO BIG THRILLS IN TODAY'S BATCH Q3 EARNINGS (0749 GMT)
While Disney shares were the big sensation on Wall Street yesterday, there's nothing (YET?) that really stands out in one of the last busy days of the Q3 earnings season.
In terms of headlines likely to move equities, Bloomberg reported a potential deal for Qiagen with U.S. rival Thermo Fisher which is already animating pre-market action. Qiagen shares are seen rising 10%-15%.
Otherwise we have British luxury brand Burberry seeing big sales declines in Hong Kong, RWE upping its 2019 outlook. Among utilities, French state-controlled utility EDF cut its nuclear power generation target in France.
Henkel sales fell and Merck raised its sales guidance.
Zurich Insurance set new targets while miner BHP tapped Australia head Henry as new CEO. In the same industry, Germany’s K+S cut its full-year core earnings forecast.
On the bright side, Germany avoided a recession in the third quarter with GDP up 0.1% but data from China and Japan overnight was less rosy.
MORNING CALL: THE JURY IS OUT FOR BREAKFAST (0636 GMT)
According to IG, financial spreadbetters expect Frankfurt's DAX to open 3 points lower, Paris' CAC to shed 4 points and London's FTSE to lose 17 points at the open.
That's not much of a trend or a clear sense of direction yet and where this session will lead us is still not clear at the moment.
There's however enough corporate publications to keep busy before the open with notably Bouygues, Burberry, RWE and Vallourec.
Economic indicators are also expected to animate morning trading with GDP, employment, inflation and retail data from across Europe.
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)