April 27, 2017 / 7:54 AM / 8 months ago

Financials drag European shares back from 20-mo highs

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - European shares retreated from 20-month highs with financials and commodity-related stocks the main drag on the benchmark index although gains in other cyclicals sectors, particularly industrials, on the back of strong earnings kept losses in check.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.5 percent in early trading, with the eurozone banking index off more than 1 percent.

Deutsche Bank shares fell 3.5 percent even though first-quarter net profit more than doubled following a rebound in bond trading. Shares of Deutsche Bank have nearly doubled from their Sept 2016 lows.

A 4.7 percent drop in Banco Popular shares added to underperformance in European banks, down 0.3 percent.

Insurers were also among the worst-performing sectors, weighed by Legal & General shares which fell 5 percent after Credit Suisse rated the stock an “underperform.”

Weak margins hurt shares in Finnish energy company Neste which fell 6 percent, dragging on the broader European energy index.

Among risers, Mediclinic shares jumped up to 12 percent after the Abu Dhabi government canceled a requirement for citizens to make a 20 percent co-payment for treatment at private facilities, in a boon to private healthcare providers.

Elsewhere, upbeat results from the likes of SKF, Bayer and Subsea 7, companies closely geared to economic growth, were cheered as more investors piled into the European recovery story.

Subsea 7 shares were rewarded after the oil services company raised its forecast for 2017 margins while Germany’s Bayer hit its highest in a year after hiking its outlook for sales. (Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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