(Reuters) - German shares hit their highest in 6-1/2 months on Wednesday, outperforming their European peers as a surge in software firm SAP helped technology post their best days since August 2015, while the broader market ticked lower as a dip in crude prices weighed on oil majors.
German shares rose 0.6 percent, extending their winning streak to the ninth straight session - its longest since February 2015.
SAP soared 12.6 percent to an all-time high and gained more than 14 billion euros in market capitalization as activist investor Elliott Management disclosed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.35 billion) stake in the company and said it supported a new management efficiency drive.
The company also set ambitious new mid-term targets after reporting a first-quarter loss.
Top performer on the DAX was Wirecard which climbed 8.5 percent after the payments company confirmed Japan’s Softbank Group Corp will buy a 5.6 percent stake in the firm.
SAP’s surge sent the tech sector soaring 4 percent and post its biggest one-day jump since August 2015.
Meanwhile, the pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.1 percent lower, breaking an eight session winning run during which it gained 1.5 percent.
After opening lower weighed by signals that China has put broader stimulus on hold, the index briefly gained as strong earnings from Credit Suisse and SAP outweighed. But, it reverted to losses as a dip in oil prices pulled energy stocks lower. [O/R]
London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.7 percent as oil majors BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell weighed. Along with French peer Total, they were the biggest drags on the pan-region index and pulled Europe’s oil and gas sector 1.8 percent lower.
Swiss stocks climbing to a record high also helped limit the broader index’s losses. Novartis’ gained 2.4 percent rise drove gains on the Swiss index as the drugmaker raised its 2019 guidance after a first-quarter earnings and sales beat.
Shares in Milan and Madrid fell the most in the region, both down more than 0.7 percent, with banks weighing on IBEX.
“The banking sectors is still struggling with a fat yield curve, the level of interest rates and the European Central Bank’s overall policy, with our expectations that deposit rates will remain at these levels till 2020,” said Stefan Koopman, a Eurozone market economist at Rabobank.
Swiss lender Credit Suisse, kicked off first-quarter balance sheet assessment for banks in the region, posting a surprise profit and saying it was cautiously optimistic about the second-quarter.
Its shares pared most gains to close marginally higher.
Results from Credit Suisse will be followed by UBS Group AG and Barclays on Thursday and Deutsche Bank on Friday.
German drugmaker Bayer slipped a day ahead of first-quarter earnings. A Reuters poll sees underlying core earnings jumping 42 percent for the quarter.
Online gaming company Kindred Group plc lost nearly 9 percent and landed at the bottom of STOXX 600 after profits for the first-quarter were significantly impacted by a new local license in Sweden.
Auto stocks dropped 0.7 percent, led by Renault after its Japanese partner Nissan Motor Co slashed its full-year profit forecast to its lowest in nearly a decade due to weakness in the United States.
Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Angus MacSwan