European shares slip as China worries overshadow robust earnings
(Reuters) – European shares edged lower on Wednesday as signals that China has put broader stimulus on hold overshadowed strong earnings from the likes of SAP and Credit Suisse.
The pan-regional STOXX 600 index was down 0.1 percent by 0920 GMT – though the benchmark index has notched gains in the past eight consecutive sessions, and shown a tendency to rebound from a weaker open.
“The market is taking some cue from the slowing of stimulus in China,” said Stefan Koopman, Market Economist, Eurozone, Rabobank.
“For the European markets to get some traction in the upcoming months we really need to depend on what’s happening in China.”
Most major regional bourses were in the red though the slew of upbeat earnings helping German and Swiss indexes advance.
Business software company SAP soared to an all-time high and boosted the DAX after the company set ambitious new mid-term targets and as activist investor Elliott Management disclosed a 1.2 billion euro stake in the company.
Top performer was Wirecard which climbed 8 percent after the payments company confirmed Japan’s Softbank Group Corp will buy a 5.6 percent stake in the firm.
STMicro shrugged off a gloomy prediction by bigger rival Texas Instruments and posted a broadly inline update, which sent its shares up more than 3 percent.
SAP and STMicro drove the tech sector up 2.5 percent to its highest since July 2018.
Kicking off the first-quarter balance sheet assessment for banks in the region, Swiss lender Credit Suisse rose 2.5 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 UBS Group AG and Barclays on Thursday and Deutsche Bank on Friday.
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.
Auto stocks dropped 0.7 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.
Also weighing on the benchmark was the oil and gas sector which pulled back after a 2 percent jump in the prior session as crude prices retreated from 2019 highs.
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.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens)