Expectations for Europe's fourth-quarter earnings continue to fall

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LONDON (Reuters) - European companies listed on the STOXX 600 index are expected to report 2.3-percent year-on-year earnings growth in the fourth quarter, sharply lower than the 3.6 percent forecast last week, according to I/B/E/S Refinitiv.

The new estimate confirms yet again a sharp downward trend as the forecast stood at 6 percent on Jan. 15 and as high as 13 percent in early November.

Excluding the energy sector, profits are expected to decrease 0.2 percent.

Expectations for growth in revenues have also sharply decreased and currently stand at 3.8 percent. Without energy, they would rise just 0.2 percent.

At the time of release on Tuesday, the Refinitiv data showed that out of the 74 companies in the 600 companies on the index which have reported earnings, 44.6 percent exceeded analyst estimates.

In a typical quarter, half beat analyst EPS estimates, Refinitiv states.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; editing by Josephine Mason)

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