April 15, 2016 / 8:20 AM / 4 years ago

European equities retreat as car stocks skid

(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details)

* FTSEurofirst index falls 0.28 pct

* Faurecia leads automobile stocks lower

* Carrefour gains after sales update

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, April 15 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Friday, with French car parts maker Faurecia leading automakers down, although the pan-European index stayed on track for its best weekly performance since mid-February.

The STOXX Europe 600 Automobiles and Parts index fell 1.1 percent, the top sectoral decliner, as Faurecia shares fell nearly 5 percent after the company said that its quarterly sales in China were down 2 percent.

Barclays analysts said that Faurecia’s revenues were below consensus due to lower sales of components used in catalytic converters for exhaust systems and higher negative foreign exchange impact.

“(The) other disappointing bit of the release was the absence of any sales guidance,” they said, adding that there was a lack of clarity beyond the second quarter.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.28 percent, but was still up 3.4 percent so far this week and stayed on track for its best week since mid-February.

The index closed 0.3 percent higher in the previous session after surging 2.6 percent on Wednesday to its highest level since March 14. It remains down around 6 percent since the start of 2016, as concerns about a China-led economic slowdown hit world stock markets and commodity prices.

“Overall sentiment remains positive, however yesterday’s trading action is clearly pointing towards a slowdown in momentum,” said Markus Huber, trader at City of London Markets.

“In light of stocks being overbought in the short term, markets taking a breather and entering a consolidation pattern would certainly be in order and actually by many considered as healthy and necessary. In order for traders to up their risk exposure further, more good news besides China will be needed.”

Latest data showed China’s economy grew 6.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, meeting expectations and providing additional evidence that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy may be bottoming out.

On the positive side, Carrefour rose 3.9 percent after saying that sales rose in its key European markets of Spain and Italy and in Brazil in the first quarter, offsetting a lacklustre performance in France.

French state-controlled utility EDF gained 3.3 percent after French daily Le Figaro reported the company planned to cut its costs by a further 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) and make more job cuts. EDF declined to comment.

Today’s European research round-up

ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.

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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Editing by Keith Weir)

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