April 20, 2018 / 7:30 AM / 3 months ago

European shares set for fourth week of gains; Ericsson shines

MILAN, April 20 (Reuters) - European shares softened at the end of a strong week as a rally in commodity prices fizzled out, sparking profit-taking among mining stocks, although strong earning updates boosted shares in Ericsson and Telia .

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.2 percent by 0725 GMT but remained up 0.5 percent on the week and set for its fourth straight week of gains, as global markets recover from a turbulent first quarter.

Dovish remarks overnight from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney weakened the pound, helping the internationally exposed FTSE index outperformed with a gain of 0.5 percent and weather a 4.5 percent fall in consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser following another poor update.

Ericsson rallied 14 percent and was set for its biggest one-day gain since October 2008 after the Swedish mobile equipment maker reported first-quarter earnings and gross margin above market expectations as cost savings from ongoing job cuts started to kick in.

Telia was another outstanding gainer in early deals, up 7 percent, after the Nordics telecoms group announced a welcome share buyback plan as Q1 core earnings slightly topped market expectations.

The basic resources index, which tracks big mining stocks, fell 0.6 percent, but remained on track to end the week up around 4 percent. Metal prices fell for a second day from peak levels as a rally driven by fears of supply disruptions caused by U.S. sanctions on Russia lost momentum. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Editing by Helen Reid)

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