July 19, 2017 / 4:04 PM / a year ago

Tech stocks enjoy best day in 10 months as earnings drive European shares higher

* STOXX 600 up 0.7 pct

* ASML leads tech higher after Q2 beat

* Earnings boost Georg Fischer, Ubisoft

* Falls in NCC, Assa Abloy hold construction sector back

* Orion sinks after Q2 miss

* Reckitt rises after food business sale (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Kit Rees and Helen Reid

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - A slew of upbeat updates from European firms helped the region’s benchmark index rise on Wednesday and recoup the previous session’s sharp losses, with tech stocks enjoying their best day in 10 months and all sectors making gains.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7 percent while blue chips climbed 0.6 percent.

Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML, up 6 percent, boosted the tech sector. The firm beat second quarter earnings estimates thanks to strong demand from manufacturers of memory chips.

Tech stocks rose 2.2 percent in their best daily performance since September last year, as chipmakers ASM and STMicro followed ASML higher.

Europe’s tech sector has gained more than 14 percent so far this year, but worries over stretched valuations, especially among U.S. peers, have put the brakes on that rally.

On the day, however, the tech-heavy Nasdaq hitting a fresh record high helped European tech extend gains.

Strong first-half profit growth sent shares in Georg Fischer soaring 12.5 percent to the top of the STOXX, while French video games maker Ubisoft jumped more than 9 percent on the back of a strong sales update.

Overall earnings in the second quarter are expected to grow by 7.9 percent from the same period last year, which would be an increase of 5.6 percent excluding the energy sector, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.

“We would like to see those stronger earnings coming through and Europe really turning a corner,” said Dafydd Davies, partner at Charles Hanover Investments.

Earnings disappointment weighed on Finnish pharmaceutical company Orion which sank 12 percent to the bottom of the STOXX. Its second-quarter earnings came in at 71.8 million, missing analyst estimates.

Gains among banking stocks were reined in by Commerzbank which fell 3.1 percent to the bottom of the DAX after UBS cut its rating on the bank to ‘neutral’.

“Our positive outlook on Commerzbank is unchanged, but we note that this is based on operating conditions in 2019 - and that 2017 and even 2018 are transitional years,” said UBS analysts.

“The shares have rallied and now appear fully valued, and as such we downgrade to neutral,” they added.

Heavy losses for builder NCC and lock maker Assa Abloy weighed on the construction sector, which made the most modest gains.

NCC slumped more than 9 percent after its second quarter pretax profit came in below expectations, while Assa Abloy dropped 8.5 percent after saying that demand in China had turned sour again in the second quarter.

Cross-border deal-making rolled on with Reckitt Benckiser up 1.6 percent after saying it would sell its food business to U.S. spice and herbs co McCormick & Co Inc for $4.2 bln.

Shares in Spanish firms Aena and Abertis were suspended following a report that the Spanish airport operator had studied a possible takeover offer for the highway concessions company. (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Vikram Subhedar, Raissa Kasolowsky and Ken Ferris)

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below