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European shares edge higher, Altice and Socgen falls weigh
November 3, 2017 / 8:35 AM / 20 days ago

European shares edge higher, Altice and Socgen falls weigh

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares crept higher on Friday, with new records hit in London and Frankfurt, though earnings from French bank Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and Dutch telecoms group Altice (ATCA.AS) weighed on their sectors and limited gains.

The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Staff/Remote

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.3 percent, a second week of gains in a row, with Germany's DAX .GDAXI hitting a new high, up 0.3 percent.

Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE built on the previous session's gains following the Bank of England's first rate hike in more than a decade and also reached a record level, with a 0.1 percent rise.

Friday was another busy day of earnings, with the banking sector in focus. Societe Generale fell 4.1 percent after the lender reported third quarter earnings which included a 15 percent slump at its investment banking arm.

Weak trading has been an issue across the sector, with peer BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) dropping earlier in the week on the back of a slump in fixed income trading.

“These weaker results add pressure on (SocGen) to deliver a substantial revamp at the investor day on 28 November, otherwise it will become a value trap,” analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

Spain's IBEX .IBEX was one of the few bourses in Europe to close in negative territory with a 1 percent decline as Spanish banks suffered heavy losses. Banco Sabadell (SABE.MC) and Banco Santander (SAN.MC) lost 2.7 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

Telecoms firm Altice was the biggest loser across Europe with a 22.6 percent collapse, as investors fretted about the Amsterdam-based group’s ability to recover market share in France.

“Investors are realizing the company is struggling too much in France,” said Javier Borrachero, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux.

Shares in Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) fell 7.5 percent on concerns about its cost cutting targets.

Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) lost 0.2 percent, while IAG (ICAG.L) was down 1.5 percent and easyJet (EZJ.L) 1.2 percent.

Wind turbine maker Vestas Wind (VWS.CO) took an 8.8 percent hit and Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC) fell 3.5 percent after the proposed U.S. tax reform bill included cuts to renewable energy tax credits.

On the positive side, Norwegian consumer publishing firm Schibsted (SBSTA.OL) surged 20.5 percent to the top of the STOXX after its results came in above forecast.

France’s Renault (RENA.PA) rose 3.9 percent, leading European autos .SXAP, after the French government took down its stake in the carmaker to 15 percent.

Tech stocks were also in focus after U.S. giant Apple (AAPL.O) reported better-than-expected earnings, boosting shares in suppliers Dialog Semiconductor (DLGS.DE) and AMS (AMS.S) by 2.3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.

More than half of MSCI Europe companies have reported third quarter earnings, of which 67 percent have either met or beaten analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

“Those (smaller beats) and the big beats, once you add them all together, makes it actually a fairly good earnings season, hence why markets are where they are,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

Reporting by Kit Rees, editing by Danilo Masoni and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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