April 29, 2020 / 7:44 AM / a month ago

European shares inch lower as healthcare stocks drag

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April 29 (Reuters) - European shares slipped on Wednesday as a slide in healthcare stocks outweighed upbeat earnings outlook from German automakers and sensor specialist AMS as well as a bounce in oil prices.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.12% by 0723 GMT and blue-chips dropped 0.4% as shares in drugmakers Roche and Novartis dragged.

Shares in BP, Total and Royal Dutch Sell gained between 1.7% and 2.6% as crude prices rose on the back of lower-than-expected rise in U.S. stockpiles.

Sensor specialist AMS jumped 10.8% to the top of STOXX 600 as it expects the impact from the coronavirus in the second quarter to be limited.

Automakers took heart after Daimler forecast operating profit at its Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans division to be above the prior-year level and Volkswagen said it expected to be profitable on a full-year basis.

However, profit expectations for the second and third quarters continued to deteriorate sharply, with Refinitiv data pointing to a 40.4% decline in earnings for companies listed on the STOXX 600, versus 37% a week ago. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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