April 27, 2018 / 7:42 AM / 10 months ago

European shares post fifth week of gains as earnings gather pace

LONDON (Reuters) - Well-received results from Spanish banks and a recovery among tech stocks lifted European shares to a fifth straight week of gains on Friday, its longest winning streak since September.

The DAX (German stock index) logo is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.2 percent, a gain of 0.7 percent for a week when bank results were in focus.

Spain’s BBVA (BBVA.MC) rose 2.4 percent and Caixabank (CABK.MC) gained 1.7 percent. Both banks beat profit forecasts thanks to strength in their overseas markets.

Britain’s RBS (RBS.L) was a laggard, reversing early gains to close 1.5 percent lower. Concern over a pending fine from the U.S. Department of Justice eclipsed its first-quarter update.

RBS was among the biggest fallers on the European banking index .SX7P, which declined 0.2 percent.

Finnish biofuel producer and oil refiner Neste (NESTE.HE) led gains, rising 10.2 percent after increasing guidance on margins and operating results following a strong first-quarter.

Satellite firm SES (SESFd.PA) came second, up more than 9.9 percent after strong growth in its networks division helped it beat first-quarter expectations/

Tech stocks .SX8P rose 0.8 percent following well-received results from Facebook (FB.O), Amazon (AMZN.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and U.S. chipmakers.

Electrolux (ELUXb.ST) fell the most on the STOXX, down 11.2 percent, after a surprise drop in core operating profit and a warning on raw material costs.

French pharmaceutical group Sanofi (SASY.PA) lost 1.7 percent after reporting sluggish first-quarter profit growth. It blamed a stronger euro and lower sales at its diabetes unit.

The earnings season has taken the focus off broader issues, such as global trade and geopolitics, which rattled markets in March. Worries about rising bond yields have also been away for now.

“We’ve been able to focus much more the earnings season and underlying trends,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said, adding that companies can be more cautious in the first quarter.

So far, around a quarter of companies in the MSCI EMU index have given first quarter updates. Nearly 60 percent have either beat or met analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data. Earnings growth is clocking in at over 15 percent for the quarter, in dollar terms.

Reporting by Kit Rees, additional reporting by Julien Ponthus; editing by Larry King

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