Financials weigh on European stocks as 'Trumpflation' hopes fade

LONDON (Reuters) - Financial shares weighed on European indexes on Wednesday amid doubts over U.S. tax reform plans and the “Trumpflation” trade and concerns over some European lenders’ earnings and over non-performing loans in Italy.

FILE PHOTO - Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Staff/Remote

“Trumpflation” refers to bets on rising rates, inflation and stock prices made after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election a year ago this week.

“In reality what we have seen in the last 12 months is plenty of evidence of backlash against globalisation, hostility and controversy, but very little in the way of fiscal policy”, Deutsche Bank analysts said in a research note.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX dipped 0.1 percent as the indexes of financial services .SXFP and banks .SX7P fell 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent respectively, in line with a similar trend in early trading on Wall Street.

Bond market movements were also pushing banks down, with a global yield curve flattening phenomenon spreading.

“Ten-year yields have been sliding back again; that’s going in the wrong direction for banks,” said DNB strategist Paul Harper.

The Italian banking sector and the issue of non-performing loans were also on investors’ minds.

Creval's PCVI.MI move to raise cash in order to shed bad debts prompted investors to dump the shares of the lender's domestic peers on concerns they may also need fresh capital.

Shares in Creval plunged 30 percent following the announcement of the share issue. Banco BPM BAMI.MI, Italy's third-largest bank, and BPER Banca EMII.MI fell 7.5 percent and 4.4 percent respectively.

Also weighing was French bank Credit Agricole CAGR.PA, which said weak trading had dented third-quarter profits, sending its shares down 3.6 percent at the close.

However, earnings from France's Natixis CNAT.PA and OneSavings Bank OSBO.L pushed their shares up 2.3 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.

“We continue to regard OneSavings as an outstanding, low-risk, buy-to-let-led business, which (for us) remains too cheap,” said Investec’s Ian Gordon.

Analysts have turned negative on euro zone bank earnings after upgrading expectations for much of the past year as sentiment improved thanks to a recovering economy, Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data showed.

The automobile sector .SXAP was also a drag on Wednesday's trade and closed down 1.3 percent. Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE retreated 2.2 percent after a parliamentary committee said it had yet to fix one in three of the 1.2 million cars affected by the diesel emissions scandal in Britain.

Elsewhere earnings publications triggered sharp moves.

Danish pharmaceutical firm Lundbeck LUN.CO fell 7.3 percent as sales of its newer drugs, such as those to treat bipolar disorder and depression, undershot market expectations.

French gaming company Ubisoft UBIP.PA touched a fresh record high after it beat its second-quarter sales target, boosting its shares by 9.2 percent to lead gainers.

Dutch supermarket chain Ahold Delhaize AD.AS jumped 5.1 percent after profits beat forecasts and it announced a larger share buyback.

With two-thirds of the earnings season over, Bernstein analysts described companies’ results overall as solid, adding that market sentiment had grown more subdued, which would help support equities.

Third-quarter earnings for MSCI Europe are tracking 5.6 percent growth in euro terms, according to the latest Thomson Reuters data. This rises to 7.1 percent when looking at MSCI EMU.

“The rate of growth is supporting a turnaround in earnings per share in Europe; that’s why we are overweight European stocks,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at wealth manager Prime Partners.

Reporting by Helen Reid and Julien Ponthus, Additional Reporting by Sujata Rao, editing by Gareth Jones