* 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 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
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
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)