UK financials dent European shares as Barclays, Aberdeen disappoint

Tue May 6, 2014 4:33am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.2 pct

* Barclays, Aberdeen weigh after weak updates

* DSM, Solvay boosted by brighter outlook

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) - European stocks edged lower on Tuesday, as outlook statements from chemical groups Solvay and DSM were outweighed by a selloff in financial shares after weak results from Barclays and Aberdeen Asset Management.

Shares in Solvay and DSM rose more than 3 percent to the top of the FTSEurofirst 300 as the former said it expects high single-digit percentage growth in core profit this year and the latter forecast higher earnings in the remainder of 2014.

They helped brighten the mood in a mixed earnings season so far in Europe, where 48 percent of companies have missed analyst estimates and consensus forecasts for next 12 months have been cut by 0.8 percent over the past 30 days, StarMine data showed.

Shares in Barclays fell 3.6 percent as the group reported a drop in first quarter profit due to a fall in its fixed income business revenue. Investment manager Aberdeen Asset Management also fell after announcing a fall in interim pretax profit.

At 0824 GMT the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.1 percent at 1,346.02 points, hovering close to a near six-year high hit on Friday. The Euro STOXX 50 fell 0.2 percent to 3,164.80 points.

"It's good that the markets have stayed where they were despite this earnings correction," Fran├žois Duhen, director of dedicated research at CM-CIC Securities in Paris. "Now that is done, earnings expectations are more sustainable."

Shares in UBS, up 0.9 percent, helped support the FTSEurofirst 300 after the bank offered shareholders a dividend sweetener to change its corporate structure and allow it to be more easily broken up in a crisis.

Bigger dividends are the object of UBS' three-year drive to shrink its investment bank and abandon riskier activities such as bond trading, where a slowdown hit rivals including Credit Suisse and Barclays.

European indexes have been stuck in a range in the past month as concerns over tensions between Russia and western powers were counterbalanced by increased mergers & acquisitions activity, including General Electric's bid for Alstom's .

"Corporates turning expansionary is a major support," strategist at JP Morgan wrote in a note, recommending that investors remain buyers of European stocks.

"This is the next big catalyst that we were looking for to help stocks."

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today's European research round-up (Editing by Louise Heavens)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.