November 23, 2017 / 8:40 AM / a year ago

European shares slip on Thanksgiving Thursday, Centrica crashes

LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - European shares tumbled on Thursday, tracking more timid Wall Street trading as volumes thinned out for the Thanksgiving holiday, with British stocks leading losses as energy firm Centrica plummeted after results.

The pan-European STOXX 600 slid 0.3 percent while euro zone stocks dipped 0.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 sank 0.5 percent, weighed down by utilities Centrica and National Grid.

Badly-received results from Thyssenkrupp helped drive Germany’s DAX down 0.4 percent.

Centrica crashed 16.4 percent in early deals, set for its biggest daily drop ever, after it lost 823,000 or about 6 percent of its energy customers in four months and full-year earnings missed market estimates.

Leading European gainers was Altice, jumping 6.4 percent, after a report the debt-ridden French telecoms and cable group was looking to sell its telecoms network in the Dominican Republic.

Its shares are still down nearly 60 percent from the start of the year as funds sold out of the company’s U.S. unit.

Euro zone November PMI business surveys were expected at 1000 GMT to give a read on the strength of the bloc’s economy.

Credit Suisse strategists predicted the indicators would remain “well within the expansion territory”, supporting their belief cyclical strength is here to stay and will continue to underpin equities into next year.

Societe Generale strategists however warned “the eurozone recovery is now a well-known story”, and were less enthusiastic about the potential for equities in the new year, adding that a heavy political agenda in Europe could affect markets.

As the earnings season drew near its close, MSCI Europe earnings growth was tracking 10.1 percent in dollar terms while eurozone companies in the MSCI EMU enjoyed 11.1 percent earnings growth.

Analysts have been revising down earnings estimates for European companies this quarter as results slightly undershot expectations.

Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Georgina Prodhan

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