European shares dip as China policy concerns temper earnings boost

April 24, 2019

(Reuters) – European shares pulled back from eight-month highs on Wednesday as worries over China putting policy-easing measures on hold offset upbeat earnings in the region from Credit Suisse and SAP.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index was down 0.1 percent by 0732 GMT. The benchmark index has notched gains in the past eight consecutive sessions, with a trend of rebounding from a weaker open.

Asian shares were also weak despite the S&P 500 hitting an all-time closing high overnight on boosts to earnings, as investors worried over Beijing slowing the pace of policy easing for the world’s second-largest economy. [MKTS/GLOB]

Germany’s DAX eked out a gain ahead of the country’s Ifo business climate data, due at 0800 GMT, while all other major regional bourses were in the red.

Auto stocks dropped 1 percent, led by Renault after its Japanese partner Nissan Motor Co slashed its full-year profit forecast to its lowest in nearly a decade due to weakness in the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said European Union tariffs facing motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson Inc were “unfair” and vowed to reciprocate, but gave no other details.

Online gaming company Kindred Group plc landed at the bottom of STOXX 600 after profits for the first-quarter were significantly impacted by a new local license in Sweden.

The oil and gas sector pulled back after a 2 percent jump in the prior session on the back of higher crude prices.

Kicking off the first-quarter balance sheet assessment for banks in the region, Swiss lender Credit Suisse rose 3 percent after posting a surprise profit and saying it was cautiously optimistic about the second-quarter following a challenging start to the year.

Results from Credit Suisse will be followed by those from UBS Group AG and Barclays on Thursday and Deutsche Bank on Friday.

Top performers on STOXX 600 was payments company Wirecard and business software company SAP which also kept the Germany’s DAX afloat.

Wirecard jumped 8 percent after a Bloomberg report said Japan’s Softbank was looking to invest about 900 million euros ($1 billion) to pick up a minority stake in the company.

SAP climbed 6 percent and drove tech sector 1.9 percent higher as the company set ambitious new mid-term targets to boost profit margins after reporting a first-quarter operating loss that chiefly resulted from a restructuring charge.

Healthcare stocks got a boost from Novartis’ gains as the Swiss drugmaker raised its 2019 guidance after a first-quarter earnings and sales beat.

Swedish truckmaker AB Volvo rose after reporting a better-than expected first-quarter operating profit on the back of stronger pricing and easing supply chain constraints.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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