Tech sector depresses European shares on busy earnings day

MILAN (Reuters) - European shares were led lower by tech stocks on Friday as they tracked losses among global peers following an earning miss at Amazon, while a flurry of company results failed to provide support.

Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Staff/Remote

The region’s tech index, the top performer so far this year, was down 1.5 percent, helping drag the pan-European STOXX 600 index down 1.1 percent by 0839 GMT. Britain’s FTSE fell 0.5 percent, while export-orientated German blue-chips, lately penalized by a strong euro, fell 0.7 percent.

“Weighing on the markets is not only disappointing results from Amazon and the strong euro, seasonally we are also nearing the end of July where traders like to take some profits,” City of London Markets trader Markus Huber said.

The STOXX is set to end the month down 0.3 percent, with a weekly fall of 0.5 percent.

“However the overall picture remains fine, the euro zone economy seems to be powering ahead nicely,” Huber said.

Data from France showed that the economy in the euro zone’s second-largest economy grew an expected 0.5 percent, helped by a surge in exports.

Turning to company results, Deutsche Bank strategists said the earnings season was picking up with strong beats in the energy, telecoms and financial sectors while consumer, utilities and industrials stocks have seen net misses.

According to Thomson Reuters IBES data, almost 40 percent of companies in the MSCI Europe index have reported results with 52 percent beating earnings estimates and 7 percent matching them. Second-quarter earnings growth is expected 19.7 percent.

Deutsche said just last week earnings beats were fewer than half of the companies that had reported.

While no sector was in positive territory, banks were a weak spot, led lower by a 3.7-percent drop in UBS, the world’s biggest asset manager, after results which Baader Helvea said were relatively soft.

“We believe, the market will once again raise concerns about a disappointing WM’s (wealth management) gross margin dynamic,” Baader said in a note without changing its “buy” rating on UBS.

Among other banks which reported results were Credit Suisse and Barclays, whose stocks were up 2 and 0.5 percent respectively.

Among top STOXX fallers were shares in Renault and Essilior, which also reported results.

A bright spot was Adidas, up 8.8 percent to a record high as the group raised its full-year outlook after improving margins helped the German sportswear maker achieve an 18-percent jump in second-quarter operating profit.

“The increase in revenue guidance will also likely ease continuing concerns on sustainability of growth,” Goldman Sachs said in a note, lifting its price target on the stock.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Louise Ireland