August 10, 2017 / 7:34 AM / 12 days ago

Cyclicals and ex-divs sap European shares amid earnings flurry

Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, August 9, 2017.Staff/Remote

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares slipped on Thursday as cyclicals fell and some big stocks went ex-dividend, while earnings from firms including Aegon and Coca Cola HBC sparked significant moves.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.3 percent by 0835 GMT as basic resources and banks fell, while euro zone blue chips dipped 0.3 percent.

Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.8 percent as large caps Anglo American, BT Group, Rio Tinto and Lloyds fell after going ex-dividend, while Germany's DAX retreated 0.3 percent.

While rising political tensions between the U.S. and North Korea hit risky assets globally in the previous session, with financials leading losses amongst European equities, company results were the dominant focus on Thursday.

Shares in insurer Aegon and soft drinks bottler Coca Cola HBC rose 8.5 percent and 9.4 percent respectively after their updates.

Aegon beat expectations for its second quarter underlying pretax profit, while Coca Cola HBC shares hit a record level after first half sales were higher than expected.

"Aegon released a very strong set of Q2 results marked by a significant increase in the group SII ratio, strong underlying earnings and an improved outlook for capital generation," analysts at KBC Securities said in a note.

Second-quarter results, however, put pressure on shares in staffing firm Adecco, chemicals company Lanxess and consumer group Henkel, which were among the biggest fallers.

Around 70 percent of MSCI Europe firms have reported second quarter earnings so far, of which more than 60 percent have either met or beaten analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Financials and the energy and materials sectors have seen the biggest beats, while industrials have had the biggest misses

"Broadly in Europe, I had thought that (earnings) wouldn't be as good, partly because the strength of the euro would make (firms') export market less attractive and earnings would be more impinged by that, but it doesn't so far seem to be the case," James Butterfill, head of research and investment strategy at ETF Securities, said, adding that a pick-up in domestic demand is likely to have helped.

Shares in Belgian biotech firm Galapagos were the top risers on the STOXX index, surging around 17 percent after a successful mid-stage study for its lung fibrosis drug.

Telecoms company SFR was up 9.6 percent after Altice raised its stake in the firm to more than 95 percent and said that it was planning a full buyout offer for remaining shares.

Reporting by Kit Rees; editing by John Stonestreet and Alexander Smith

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