July 27, 2018 / 7:29 AM / 2 months ago

Luxury group Kering's shares fall, Gucci seen bit weaker than forecast

PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in luxury goods group Kering (PRTP.PA), which hit record highs last month, fell back sharply on Friday as traders said sales growth at Kering’s Gucci brand had come in a bit weaker than forecast.

FILE PHOTO: Gucci signs are seen outside a shop in Paris, France, December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Kering shares were down 5.9 percent at 473.40 euros in early session trading. The stock hit a record high of 522.40 euros on June 15, and nevertheless remains up by around 30 percent since the start of 2018.

Kering reported late on Thursday higher first-half profits, helped by resilient sales in China.

Gucci’s margins hit a record high of 38.2 percent at end-June. But its second quarter comparable sales growth of 40.1 percent was a touch below forecasts even as the label outperforms peers. Some traders said that was a trigger for investors to sell Kering shares and cash in on the stock’s recent rally.

“Gucci touch light, profit taking inevitable,” wrote one trader, who declined to be named, in an emailed comment.

That view was echoed by analysts at Berenberg, who nevertheless kept a “buy” rating on Kering shares.

“Yet, despite its impressive H1 performance, with operating profit and free cash flow increasing by around 53 percent and around 65 percent year-on-year, respectively, the small organic miss at Gucci (40 percent versus consensus of 42 percent) has attracted all the attention,” wrote Berenberg.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Sarah White

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