European shares snap winning run as earnings disappoint

Reuters - UK Focus

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.3 pct

* Nestle (VTX: NESN.VX - news) weighs as it warns about slower EM demand

* BNP (Paris: FR0000131104 - news) -Paribas down after profit drop

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - European stocks snapped aweek-long winning streak on Thursday, weighed down by a batch ofdisappointing updates from blue-chip companies including Swissfood group Nestle and French bank BNP Paribas (Milan: BNP.MI - news) .

Shares in Nestle fell 1.4 percent after it said it mayundershoot its long-term growth targets again this year due toweaker demand from emerging markets (EM) and price pressures inEurope.

French spirits group Pernod Ricard (Frankfurt: PER.F - news) also warnedabout weak demand in China on Thursday as it cut its annualprofit growth goal.

An MSCI basket of stocks with the highest proportion ofsales from emerging countries has fallen by more than twopercent this year, underperforming the broader market, as signsof a slowdown in China and capital flight from other emergingcountries saw traders ditch assets linked to those regions.

"Our view is that there will be some further disappointmentfrom companies exposed to emerging markets in the fourth quarter(2013). Difficult to assess, however, what is now included inshare prices as this thematic is very well known" Yann Belvisi,a strategist at CM-CIC Securities in Paris said.

"Consensus is becoming very bearish on these stocks but wedon't expect EM economies to bottom too low, so opportunitiesshould materialize later in the year. For the moment we stillrecommend that investors...favour exposure to both U.S. andEuropean economic growth."

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down0.2 percent at 1,323.86 points at 0858 GMT, falling for thefirst time in seven sessions. The Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.3 percent at 3,085.30.

Britain's Rolls Royce (LSE: RR.L - news) , the world's second-largestaircraft engine maker, was the top faller on the FTSEurofirst300, down 11.4 percent, after it forecast declining defenceaerospace and marine revenues in 2014.

Also weighing on the index were banks BNP Paribas andBanking Group, down 4.3 percent and 3.7 percent,respectively, after their quarterly updates.

BNP Paribas reported a 76 percent drop in quarterly profitafter booking a $1.1 billion litigation provision, triggering adowngrade to "hold" from "accumulate" at CM-CIC Securities.

Bucking the sector trend was Germany Commerzbank,which rose 3.1 percent after posting a small profit in thefourth quarter of 2013 and showing its restructuring had gainedtraction.

"The earnings flow today is mixed, and we see a couple ofbig names being impacted by the crisis in the emerging markets,so even if the overall picture is relatively positive, investorshave to be selective," a Paris-based trader said.

Nearly halfway through Europe's earnings season, 58 percentof European companies have met or beaten quarterly profitforecasts, their best score since the third quarter of 2012,according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

In absolute terms, however, the data shows profits are down3.5 percent compared to the same quarter a year before.

Europe bourses in 2014:

Asset performance in 2014:

Today's European research round-up

View Comments (0)