* Apple suppliers fall on weak iPhone sales
* Novo Nordisk jumps on profit beat
* Profit outlook rosier for Fresenius
* Miners at four-month low
(Adds quote and detail, updates prices at close)
By Helen Reid and Kit Rees
LONDON, May 3 European shares slipped slightly
from the 20-month highs they hit in the previous session, as
investors locked in profits following some underwhelming company
results on Wednesday.
Europe's STOXX 600 index was flat in percentage
terms at its close, having spent most of the session in negative
Shares in several Apple suppliers fell after the
smartphone giant reported a surprise dip in sales of its
Dialog Semiconductor shares slid 2.5 percent. They
had plummeted 14 percent in April on fears over Apple bringing
some of its components in-house.
"Dialog has been trying to diversify for a number of years
to different sources, but unfortunately if your key relationship
is with Apple and that's because you have got great products,
there's risk and opportunity very closely aligned in that," said
Neil Campling, technology analyst at Northern Trust.
Peers AMS and STMicro also fell 1.2 and 1.8
Shares in German luxury retailer Hugo Boss
dropped nearly 3 percent after online sales fell 27 percent due
to fewer visitors to its website.
German bluechip automakers Daimler and BMW
were also on the back foot after disappointing April
auto sales in the U.S.
Gains among healthcare stocks supported Germany's DAX
index, which rose 0.2 percent and touched a fresh
Fresenius hit a record high, up 2.6 percent, after it raised
its 2017 profit forecast after demand for its generic infusion
drugs boosted first-quarter income 28 percent.
"We do not believe investors were anticipating another
guidance raise and will be relieved by the Kabi strength," said
UBS analysts, referring to the company's infusion segment.
Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk jumped to the top
of the STOXX 600, up 6.8 percent after it beat estimates for
first-quarter profit and nudged up its full-year outlook.
Elsewhere, underwhelming results weighed on Finland's Nokian
Tyres, down 5.7 percent after it missed estimates for
Centamin sank nearly 6 percent after posting a
28-percent fall in first-quarter pretax profit. It dragged
Europe's miners down 2.5 percent to a four-month low.
European first-quarter earnings are expected to increase
10.5 percent from the first quarter of 2016, or 6.2 percent
excluding the energy sector, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Of 111 companies to have reported earnings so far, 70.3
percent exceeded analyst estimates, above the 49.5 percent of
beats in a typical quarter.
“For the first time in many years we’re seeing good momentum
and strong earnings growth in European equities," said Chris
Dyer, director of global equity at Eaton Vance.
“I think investors are putting money into European equities,
we’re starting to see that in flow data since the beginning of
this year after substantial outflows last year due to political
and economic uncertainty coming into 2017.”
(Reporting by Kit Rees and Helen Reid; editing by Andrew Roche)