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European shares hit 8-week lows as commodity weakness weighs
November 15, 2017 / 8:36 AM / 8 days ago

European shares hit 8-week lows as commodity weakness weighs

MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) - A fall in commodity stocks and sustained profit-taking sent European shares to an eight-week low and their seventh straight session of losses on Wednesday, but Airbus rallied after winning a record plane deal.

The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Staff/Remote

Crude oil’s price slide on worries over the outlook for demand and weaker metal prices weighed on mining and energy stocks like Rio Tinto (RIO.L) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L).

Their falls helped send the pan-European STOXX 600 index down to its lowest level since Sept. 20. It closed 0.4 percent down, slightly off its earlier lows.

This was the index’s seventh straight session of losses, its longest losing streak since October 2016 when markets fell in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election.

Britain's top share index FTSE 100 .FTSE declined 0.4 percent and Germany's export-oriented DAX .GDAXI index fell 0.6 percent, weighed down by a stronger euro.

Autos .SXAP were also among the biggest losers, down 0.9 percent, but falls were spread across sectors as investors continued to take profits following this year’s rally.

The STOXX 600 is still up nearly 6 percent so far this year.

Deutsche Bank strategists led by Sebastian Raedler expect the STOXX 600 to end the year at 395 points, 3 percent above current levels, before falling back to 375 in the first months of 2018.

“We remain tactically neutral near-term, but expect a pull-back ... We are underweight European cyclicals versus defensives - and expect European equities to continue underperforming U.S. equities over the coming months,” they said.

Some investors have reduced their exposure to European equities to position themselves for a correction even though they do not expect the underlying positive trend to change, given continued strength in economic data.

On the earnings front, data from Thomson Reuters IBES shows 50 percent of companies listed on the euro zone MSCI EMU index have beaten analyst expectations while 40 percent have missed them. Earnings beats stand at 54 percent for the broader MSCI Europe index and at 72 percent for the U.S.’s S&P 500.

Among oil firms Tullow Oil (TLW.L) led losses, down 5.2 percent while services company TechnipFMC (FTI.PA) and Austrian refiner OMV (OMVV.VI) also dropped 3.2 to 4.3 percent.

Germany’s Lanxess (LXSG.DE) fell 3 percent after its earnings update did not provide any positive surprise.

“Third quarter numbers are okay whereas the portfolio change and the execution of Lanxess’ strategy is going as planned,” said Baader Bank Helvea analyst Markus Mayer in a note.

Potash miner K&S (SDFGn.DE) sank 4.8 percent after it missed profit expectations.

On the positive side, Airbus (AIR.PA) rose 2.4 percent, providing the biggest boost to overall index gains.

Airline pioneer Bill Franke placed a historic order for 430 A320neo-family jets in a deal worth $49.5 billion at list prices that marks a dramatic turnaround for Airbus, which had been lagging behind Boeing in the contest for orders.

The deal is one of the industry’s biggest by volume, and the most planes sold by Airbus in one batch.

Shares in telecoms and cable firm Altice (ATCA.AS) jumped 8 percent after the company appeased investors by announcing a shift in focus from acquisitions to reducing its 50 billion euro ($59 billion) net debt.

Wind turbine makers Vestas Wind (VWS.CO) and Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC) also rose 5.2 and 3.3 percent, recovering from sharp losses in the previous sessions.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Helen Reid, Editing by Richard Balmforth

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