Renault slides as European shares edge lower

Fri Nov 1, 2013 7:24am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, ESTOXX 50 down 0.2 pct

* Renault falls after partner Nissan cuts outlook

* Meggitt also slumps after cutting guidance

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Fresh signs of corporate earnings weakness pegged back European stock markets on Friday, pushing indexes off multi-year highs and hitting carmaker Renault .

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.1 percent to 1,290.93 points in mid-session trade, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index declined by 0.2 percent to 3,060.89 points.

Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 9,022.93 points, retreating from a record high of 9,070.17 reached on Wednesday, while the FTSEurofirst 300 slipped back from a 5-year high of 1,296.37 the same day.

Renault was the worst-performing stock on the FTSEurofirst 300 index, falling 5.4 percent after its Japanese partner Nissan cut its profit outlook.

UK aircraft parts supplier Meggitt lost a tenth of its stock market value after cutting its revenue guidance, which further highlighted a weak set of third quarter results from many European companies.

According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 53 percent of companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index have missed market expectations with their results.

Kevin Lilley, head of European equities at Old Mutual Global Investors, said he was not too concerned by the weak third quarter results. He felt 2014 would better for companies as the European economy gradually recovered from the effects of the region's sovereign debt crisis.

"Companies are missing on the revenue side but they're not doing too badly on the profit side," said Lilley.

"For me, it's still very comfortable. We're beginning to emerge out of recession in Europe and people will have greater confidence in 2014."

PROFIT TAKING

Some traders have used the weak results issued by several companies this week to trim back equity positions in order to book profits after stock markets gained ground in October.

The FTSEurofirst 300 rose 4 percent in October and is up by around 14 percent since the start of 2013.

Lilley said he had taken profits by selling some shares in French media group Vivendi, up 10 percent since the start of the year, while keeping overweight in bank stocks which tend to outperform in an improving economy.

Both Lilley and Tavira Securities' Toby Campbell-Gray felt any retreat on European equity markets at the start of November would be relatively short-lived, as they expected a rally into the end of the year.

Campbell-Gray said the equity market was still one for bulls rather than bears. "You don't get too rich by being a bear in this market," he said.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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