European shares dented by poor earnings

Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:43am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5 percent

* Tech stocks weak after Google results miss

* Aggreko drops 7.8 percent, warns on profit

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - European shares fell back on Friday, though remained within striking distance of the year's highs, as unexpectedly weak results from U.S. tech bellwether Google bruised investor sentiment.

Tech stocks felt the pinch, with Google having tumbled 8 percent on Thursday after quarterly results that missed analyst expectations as its core advertising business slowed.

Of the S&P 500 companies to have reported so far, 24 percent have undershot forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine, though Thursday's earnings were not yet factored into the data.

Among weak European tech issues, Nokia fell 1.7 percent, STMicroelectronics shed 3.2 percent, and SAP slipped 0.1 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.5 percent at 1,114.83 by 1111 GMT, holding below the 2012 peak of 1,122.76 reached mid-September following the launch of a third round of stimulus by the U.S. central bank.

"If the market can withstand major companies disappointing, it gives you an idea that the underlying market is strong," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussel, said.

"It's not the cycle of individual companies that's driving things - it's really the monetary cycle."

European leaders took a step towards establishing a single banking supervisor for the euro zone on Friday, agreeing it would come into force next year, paving the way for the bloc's rescue fund to inject capital directly into ailing banks.

"It's a positive but it's not something that's a very much unexpected positive. It is something that was agreed in June already... we are just walking the path to get there," Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank, said.

AGGREKO KNOCKED

Aggreko headed the list of fallers on the FTSEurofirst 300, down 7.8 percent in high trading volume, after the temporary power provider downgraded its 2012 profit outlook due to provisions for bad debts and adverse exchange rates.

Capital expenditure in the first half of 2013 will be below 2012 as a result of the weakening economic outlook in many of its markets, as well as the need to absorb the fleet it built for the London Olympics, it said.

"We believe Aggreko continues to manage its business cautiously (the group has to date never had a material bad debt) and we would remain hopeful of some unwind to this bad debt provision, but this now seems unlikely to occur during the remainder of 2012," brokers at Espirito Santo said.

Volume in the stock stood at almost five times its 90-day daily average, against the FTSEurofirst 300 at around half of its 90-day daily average.

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