July 30, 2018 / 4:05 PM / a year ago

Earnings misses and tech fragility drag European stocks down

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares retreated from a six-week high on Monday as industrials and tech stocks slipped and disappointing earnings, including from brewer Heineken, dented investors’ confidence.

The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Staff/Remote

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.3 percent, starting a packed earnings week on the back foot after sealing on Friday its strongest weekly gain in nearly five weeks. Germany's DAX .GDAXI edged down 0.5 percent.

A negative open on Wall Street also comforted traders to stick to a risk-off mode until the close.

Shares in Heineken (HEIO.AS) tumbled 6.5 percent to the bottom of the STOXX after the world’s second largest beer maker reported weaker than expected first-half earnings and cut its full-year margin guidance.

“Heineken’s first-half EPS missed expectations due to the consolidation of Kirin Brasil, adverse currency effects and higher input costs,” Liberum analysts said in a note.

France's Air Liquide (AIRP.PA) fell 2.5 percent to the bottom of the CAC 40 .FCHI after its first-half operating income proved disappointing.

Another faller after earnings was Siemens Healthineers (SHLG.DE), which declined 2 percent after the world’s largest maker of medical-imaging gear reported a 10 percent slump in net profit, driven down by a strong dollar.

Its parent company Siemens (SIEGn.DE) also fell 0.4 percent, one of the biggest weights among industrials stocks.

Several companies however delivered positive results, including German industrial machinery group GEA (G1AG.DE), which rose 4.5 percent to a three-month high after it reported.

“GEA Group’s second-quarter figures are characterized by better than (expected) order intake, partially wiping out the 1Q18 slump, solid sales growth and operating earnings surpassing the 2Q17 level and expectations,” Baader Helvea analysts said.

British bookmaker GVC (GVC.L), which owns the Ladbrokes and Coral brands, climbed 5.4 percent to a record high after announcing it had sealed a joint venture with MGM Resorts (MGM.N) to set up an online betting platform in the United States.

Shore Capital analyst Greg Johnson said U.S. sports betting could grow to be a $20 billion market, and saw a 10 percent market share as potentially generating value of 270p per share for GVC.

“A tie-up with MGM significantly increases the chances of achieving such a market position with a lower risk profile.”

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) shares also rose 2.9 percent after the German lender said it had moved a large part of its euro clearing activity to Frankfurt from London.


Earnings aside, the tech sector .SX8P declined 1.6 percent, reflecting moves in Asia and Wall Street after shocking drops in big tech names Twitter and Facebook last week shook investors’ belief in tech’s resilience.

Cap Gemini (CAPP.PA) and SAP (SAPG.DE), heavyweights in tech, fell 2.2 and 2.9 percent.

Financials, on the other hand, provided the biggest boost to overall index gains. They remain, however, the worst-performing sector year-to-date.

After visiting clients, Citi analysts said U.S. investors remain underweight on EU banks but had more interest in buying them than on any of their recent marketing trips.

Overall, MSCI Europe earnings are expected to grow 8.4 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, Thomson Reuters data shows. Earnings growth for the index is also being revised up for 2018 and 2019.

But Goldman Sachs analysts say the rate of positive earnings surprises is trailing the historical average thus far in Q2.

(For a graphic on 'MSCI Europe earnings growth revised up July 30' click reut.rs/2mRpLEx)

Reporting by Helen Reid; additional reporting by Julien Ponthus, Editing by Catherine Evans

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