3 Min Read
* STOXX down 0.1 pct, but set for best week since December
* UBS rallies as wealth management turnaround pleases
* But Barclays hit after missing out on trading boom
* Gemalto profit warning hammers shares
* BAML ups STOXX target, sees 2017 earning up 15 pct (Adds details, updates prices)
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, April 28 (Reuters) - European shares eased on Friday as investors took profits at the end of a strong week with earnings in focus as political worries subsided, while UBS soared after a profit beat.
The STOXX 600 index was down 0.1 percent by 0816 GMT, adding to the previous session's losses, while Britain's FTSE was down 0.3 percent and France's CAC was flat.
UBS rallied 2.6 percent to a three-month high as a long-awaited turnaround in its core wealth management business helped Switzerland's biggest bank deliver its second-best start to a year since the financial crisis.
"The key highlight is a great recovery in the most important wealth management," Baader Helvea analyst Tomasz Grzelak said. "This well needed development will significantly lower investor concerns about the key UBS’s growth engine."
But British rival Barclays fell 4.2 percent after its investment bank missed out on a bond trading boom that saw earnings surge at its Wall Street rivals, even though its first quarter profit more than doubled.
French drugmaker Sanofi rose 2.1 percent after it reported higher-than-expected first-quarter profits, buoyed by its speciality care division Genzyme, vaccines and consumer products acquired from Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim.
Gemalto fell by as much as 23 percent, making it the biggest faller on the STOXX after the Dutch digital security firm cut its 2017 profit forecast due to slow adoption of chip-enabled payment cards in the United States.
Earning also drove price action for other top STOXX movers.
French tele-services provider Teleperformance surged more than 7 percent to an all-time high following better than expected results, while aluminium producer Norsk Hydro fell 6.3 percent after posting first-quarter results below forecast across all divisions.
Despite Friday's weakness, the pan-European index is set to end the week up 2.4 percent - its strongest week since December - and close to a 20-month high hit on Wednesday as fresh money poured into the region's equities on the back of the market friendly outcome of the first round of France's presidential election.
Strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised their target for the STOXX to 420 points and said they expected European earnings growing 15 percent this year, adding to growing broker optimism about prospects for the region's stocks. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Angus MacSwan)