European shares hold on to small gains ahead of Fed announcement

miércoles 29 de octubre de 2014 08:05 GYT
 

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct
    * Fugro tumbles 22 pct after cancelling payout
    * Total, Schneider up after results

    By Francesco Canepa
    LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - European stocks held on to small
gains on Wednesday despite disappointing results from Dutch
marine services group Fugro, among other firms,
partly offsetting optimism ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve
policy announcement. 
    Fugro sank 22 percent after it warned that it will not pay a
dividend for 2014 due to deteriorating markets and price
pressure on oil and gas projects.
    Sentiment also took a knock after a profit warning from
Italian oil industry services group Saipem, which sent
shares in sector peer CGG down 3.4 percent.
 
    On the upside, investors welcomed oil major Total's
 decision to maintain its dividend while pressing ahead
with cost cuts after falling oil prices squeezed its
third-quarter profits. The shares rose 1.7 percent.
    The broader FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European
shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,320.93 points by 1142 GMT, rising
for the fourth of the past seven sessions albeit in low volume.
    Trading volume on the index was equal to less than a third
of its full-day average for the past 10 days.
    Global shares have rebounded during that time after a sharp
pullback, as investors took heart from generally strong
corporate earnings, especially in the United States, and the
prospect of an accommodative stance from Federal Reserve.
    The market expects the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee
to announce it will end years of stimulus measures this month
but also send a soothing message by signalling interest rates
are not likely to rise soon.
    "The volumes into the rally are waning," Monument Securities
head of sales, Andy Ash, said. "As we approach the FOMC meeting
and the month end, we have catalysts to pivot once again." 
    
    Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
    Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
    Today's European research round-up 
    
    OUTLOOK MIXED
    European corporate results, have been largely in line or
above expectations so far although outlooks remained mixed. 
    Industrial group Schneider Electric rose 2.3
percent after reporting a 7 percent rise in third-quarter sales
and saying Western Europe showed long-awaited but fragile signs
of stabilisation.  
    Europe's largest semiconductor company STMicroelectronics
 shed 9.1 percent after posting higher-than-expected
quarterly net profit but saying margins would be flat and
revenue would fall in the final quarter due to a softening
market.  
    Spanish bank BBVA, down 3.2, weighed on the Euro
STOXX banking index as it reported a lower-than-expected
net profit for the first nine months of the year and said its
investment in improving its digital banking offering could hit
profits in the fourth quarter.  
    About a third of companies listed on the STOXX Europe 600
 benchmark index have reported results so far in the
earnings season, with 67 percent of them meeting or beating
profit forecasts, and 59 percent meeting or beating revenue
forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.
    In absolute terms, European companies have posted a 13.6
percent rise in quarterly earnings and 0.7 percent in revenue.

 (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by
Louise Ireland)