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Earnings, resources stocks help European shares hold at 21-month highs
May 9, 2017 / 10:08 AM / 5 months ago

Earnings, resources stocks help European shares hold at 21-month highs

* STOXX 600 up 0.5 pct

* Miners, oil stocks lend support

* Results buoy Davide Campari, Nets

* Micro Focus down after buyout target’s weak update (Adds quote and details, updates prices)

By Kit Rees

LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) - A raft of well-received updates and a recovery in resources stocks helped European shares rebound on Tuesday from the previous session’s slight losses, edging to 21-month highs.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.5 percent while France’s CAC 40 index gained 0.4 percent, recouping some of its losses from Monday following centrist Emmanuel Macron’s French presidential election victory.

“Yesterday was almost a realisation that, ok, we’ve cleared one hurdle but it’s not like it’s plain sailing from here ... but today it’s looking good - the weak euro vs. the dollar is helping the DAX,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said, referring to Germany’s index which was up 0.5 percent.

Company results were in focus, with shares in Italy’s David Campari jumping nearly 8 percent after the spirits maker reported first-quarter earnings boosted by high-margin brands.

Denmark’s payment services provider Nets rose 2.6 percent following its first-quarter earnings, which saw strong organic growth.

More than halfway into the first-quarter results season, earnings for European firms have been strong overall, with major euro zone blue chip firms seeing average earnings growth of around 20 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

Elsewhere a rebound in basic resources stocks and gains among energy firms also helped support the market, with miners up after a rise in the underlying price of copper.

Shares in Belgian materials group Umicore rose 4.3 percent, supported by a positive broker note from Berenberg whose analysts also upped their target price for the stock. Likewise Henderson’s shares gained nearly 3 percent after UBS upgraded the asset management firm to “buy” from “neutral”, citing its planned merger with U.S. fund firm Janus Capital.

“Significantly enhanced scale, distribution and diversification see (Henderson) better equipped to deal with ongoing headwinds from a gradual global shift to passive and rising regulatory costs,” analysts at UBS said in a note.

Britain’s Micro Focus was the biggest STOXX faller, slumping more than 8 percent after saying that revenue at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the U.S. company it is buying, dropped around 10 percent in the last quarter.

Shares in jewellery maker Pandora gave up early gains to trade more than 4 percent lower after its update, while Apple supplier Dialog Semiconductor retreated 2.3 percent with analysts pointing to the chipmaker’s weaker guidance for the second quarter in which it expects to see a dip in revenues.

British utility Centrica came under pressure after Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to cap energy prices if she is re-elected in June’s general election. Centrica’s shares fell 2 percent.

Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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