February 6, 2017 / 10:48 AM / 6 months ago

European shares supported by good earnings updates; Ryanair dips

4 Min Read

* STOXX up 0.2 pct; France's CAC up 0.3 pct

* Precious metal miners up on stronger gold, Randgold update

* Well-received results support Telecom Italia, DKSH, Aker BP

* But Ryanair slips after poor fourth quarter update (Adds details, update prices)

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Feb 6 (Reuters) - European shares edged up in choppy trade on Monday with better- than-expected corporate results helping support the market, but a disappointing update at Ryanair weighed on shares in the budget airline.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2 percent by 1030 GMT, reversing initial weakness as stronger miners more than offset weakness among auto stocks.

London-listed Randgold Resources rose 3.5 percent, among the top gainers on the STOXX, after the gold miner posted a 76 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit and said it would raise its annual dividend.

Other precious metal miners were also in demand, with Fresnillo and Centamin both up more than 1 percent, as gold prices gained for a third day, on technical buying and a weaker dollar.

Their gains helped Europe's STOXX Basic Resources index rise 0.8 percent, making it the biggest sectoral gainer in the region.

Besides Randgold there were other well-received company updates.

Shares in Telecom Italia rose 4 percent after Italy's biggest phone group posted a better than expected rise in full-year core earnings, helped by cost cuts and its domestic operations returning to growth.

Mediobanca analyst Fabio Pavan affirmed his Outperform rating on the stock saying the group's turnaround looked impressive and growth in its Italian business was very strong.

Switzerland's DKSH soared 8.4 percent, leading gainers on the STOXX and reaching their highest level since April 2015, after the services firm's earnings growth and dividend beat market expectations.

Aker BP rose 4.6 percent after the Norwegian oil posted forecast-beating fourth-quarter earnings due to a one-off $114-million income following a change in its pension scheme.

Ryanair however fell 2 percent after a poor fourth quarter update. Average fares fell more than expected amid a glut of capacity in Europe's short-haul aviation market, but Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers said it remains on track to post a modest increase in annual profits.

"Ryanair's trouble is that it has huge exposure to the UK market and sterling, but earnings are booked in euros," said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.

"The company's response to the drop in the pound - to aggressively lower fares to grab market share while expanding routes - doesn't help profits in the near term. But going forward the growth in traffic will help put it on a surer footing, particularly as it's also reducing costs."

On the DAX, Volkswagen fell 1 percent, after the carmaker was sued by its first big German customer over its diesel-test cheating.

Its fall weighed on Europe's STOXX Auto index, which fell 0.3 percent, making it the biggest sectoral faller.

France's CAC rose 0.3 percent, shrugging off investor concern about the country's presidential election, which instead weighed on its government bonds. France's small-mid cap index was little changed. (Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

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