November 8, 2016 / 9:46 AM / 2 years ago

European shares up in cautious trading, focus on U.S. vote

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* STOXX Europe 600 index up 0.2 pct

* Investors focus on U.S. presidential vote

* AB Foods surges on encouraging update

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher in cautious trading on Tuesday, with encouraging updates from some companies underpinning the broader market on a day when investors’ main focus stayed on the election battle in the United States.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was trading 0.2 percent higher by 0933 GMT, after surging 1.5 percent in the previous session on improved chances of Hillary Clinton becoming the next U.S. president.

Clinton got a boost on Sunday when the FBI said it stood by its July finding that the Democratic candidate was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server.

Clinton, seen as offering greater certainty and stability, was ahead of Republican Donald Trump in five polls on Monday.

“As there are no new shocks in the press, it is clear that investors are cheering the Clinton lead, even if it is too close for absolute comfort,” Lorne Baring, managing director of B Capital Wealth Management, said.

“Yesterday’s rally after a two week decline indicates that the home straight has been entered and the market feels that the Democrat horse will win by a length. The race is not over yet though.”

Investors stayed cautious as less than five months ago Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union had defied most polls and bookmakers’ odds. However, some analysts said the market’s reaction could not be as sharp as some were expecting.

“Similar to our views pre-Brexit, we believe the already high levels of risk premia embedded within equities coupled with the improving global economic backdrop should help to cushion any significant downside if Trump were to win,” Barclays said.

The earnings season continued to move the market on Tuesday. Shares in Primark owner Associated British Foods surged 8.8 percent, the top STOXX 600 gainer, after the company said it expected profits to increase in the next fiscal year. It added that earnings could ultimately benefit from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“We are long-standing admirers of the ABF business, and continue to believe in the medium to long term potential from Primark, being one of the most potent retail format’s in Europe,” Shore Capital said in a note. “However ... the profit progress will not be as linear as many had suggested.”

Credit Agricole advanced 5.9 percent after the lender said it had completed a simplification of its structure in the third quarter that puts more capital into the listed arm of the business, allowing it to set a minimum dividend level for next year.

However, ArcelorMittal fell 6.8 percent after the world’s largest producer of steel reported third-quarter core profit below expectations and said its final quarter would be weaker than the third.

Sweden’s Securitas dropped 6.9 percent, the top faller in the STOXX 600, after the company warned that core sales at its Security Services Europe unit would lag the market in the fourth quarter and the first half of 2017. (Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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