January 17, 2019 / 8:56 AM / 6 months ago

SocGen warning, Huawei frictions weigh on European shares

MILAN (Reuters) - A profit warning from Societe Generale and U.S. frictions over Chinese tech giant Huawei weighed on European shares on Thursday, although the worries gradually faded and a rising Wall Street helped indexes pare losses or close a shade higher.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended the day up 0.04 percent after having traded in the red most of the session.

Germany's exporter-heavy DAX .GDAXI index .GDAXI fell 0.12 percent and Britain's FTSE .FTSE slid 0.4 percent.

Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) shares were the biggest losers within the banking sector and on the French blue chip index CAC 40 .FCHI, down 5.6 percent.

The French bank said its fourth-quarter results would be affected by tough market conditions and the impact of some asset sales.

The warning hit European banking stocks .SX7P, which fell 1.2 percent.

“I have a preference for the U.S. banks. SocGen shows how tough things are for European banks,” said Jerome Schupp, fund manager at Geneva-based investment firm Prime Partners.

Italian banks .FTIT8300 limited their losses to a 0.7 percent fall after a top government official said on Wednesday that mergers among Italian lenders could make the banking system more solid, as the sector seeks to further cut its bad loan pile.

Early trading was marred by worries that U.S. action against Huawei could further complicate trade talks between Washington and Beijing at a time when signs of a global economic slowdown are growing.

“The severity of Thursday’s losses, initially inspired by the fear that the announced U.S. probe into Huawei would disrupt the trade talks between the country and China, seem to have been limited by the confirmation that Vice Premier Liu He will be coming to Washington for further discussions at the end of January,” said Connor Campbell, an analyst for Spreadex.

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

Carmakers .SXAP, which are highly sensitive to trade and have large exposure to both the Chinese and U.S. economies, lost 0.8 percent.

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley said he thought U.S. President Donald Trump was inclined to impose tariffs on European cars to win better terms on agriculture.

Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine (VOES.VI) was another heavy faller, sliding 4.7 percent after another profit warning.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter

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