LONDON (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Tuesday as investors shifted from worrying about a trade war to focusing on a corporate earnings season expected to deliver solid results.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4 percent to a 2 1/2-week high, scoring its sixth straight day of gains as energy shares supported the market, while political bickering in the UK kept the FTSE .FTSE, up 0.1 percent, slightly behind.
Fading concern over trade helped push Wall Street higher for a second day on Tuesday.
“It’s more of an absence of bad news rather than outright positive news that has driven the trade story over the last few days,” said Brooks investment director Macdonald Edward Park.
Oil stocks .SXEP were the biggest boost to the STOXX index, rising 1.4 percent. Crude prices climbed on concern over potential supply shortages as Norwegian oil workers prepared to strike later in the day [nL4N1U61GM].
Industrials stocks like Siemens (SIEGn.DE), Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE) and Safran (SAF.PA), among the worst-hit by news of tariffs, also boosted the European index. Trade-sensitive luxury stocks Kering (PRTP.PA) and LVMH (LVMH.PA) extended their recovery rally.
Analysts have been revising their earnings expectations higher for the STOXX 600 before Europe’s earnings season kicks off in earnest. According to Thomson Reuters IBES data, STOXX earnings are expected to have risen more than 7 percent.
On Tuesday however disappointing results caused the most eye-catching moves.
Shares in interdealer broker TP ICAP (TCAPI.L) sank 35.9 percent to a two-year low, suffering their worst day ever. The company announced its CEO would depart and warned on profit, blaming Brexit-related costs.
Airbus (AIR.PA) shares rose 4 percent after Bank of America Merrill-Lynch added the stock to its “Europe 1” list of preferred stocks.
Ocado (OCDO.L) shares ended up 9 percent, despite the online supermarket saying its 2018 pre-tax loss would exceed market consensus as investment spending cut into first-half earnings. Earlier in the day, the share price initially fell as much as 7.4 percent after the earnings report.
Among other gainers, specialty chemicals firm Wacker Chemie (WCHG.DE) rose 3.8 percent after Societe Generale analysts raised the stock to buy from hold.
“We think the market is overestimating the impact of renewed price pressure in polysilicon for solar and at the same time underestimating the value of Wacker’s Silicones business,” they wrote.
Shares in German wind turbine maker Nordex (NDXG.DE) jumped 4.5 percent after it won its biggest single contract ever, for a 595-megawatt wind turbine order in Brazil.
Biotech and pharma shares .SXDP rose 0.7 percent as M&A and drug trial results boosted some small caps in the sector.
Switzerland-listed biotech company Cassiopea (SKIN.S) jumped 75 percent after positive trials for its Winlevi acne treatment.
Reporting by Helen Reid and Danilo Masoni; Editing by Kit Rees, Larry King, Peter Graff