July 25, 2018 / 7:41 AM / 3 months ago

LVMH supports European shares as investors brace for trade meeting

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LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - Trade worries muscled their way into the European market again on Wednesday, keeping gains muted despite some strong earnings, as investors held their breath ahead of a crucial meeting in Washington between the European Commission President and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The top-level meeting was expected to focus on trade and Trump’s threatened tariffs on U.S. car imports.

The pan-European STOXX 600 climbed 0.1 percent thanks to defensive sectors, while tech stocks were the biggest weight, reversing the previous session’s gains as trade tensions returned to the forefront of investors’ minds.

Luxury stocks gained after conglomerate LVMH reported strong profits, taking the shares up 1.7 percent and boosting France’s CAC 40 up to outperform European peers.

LVMH hovered near record highs after saying Chinese shoppers were still snapping up goods at its major brands like Louis Vuitton.

Gucci owner Kering rose 1.4 percent and Hermes gained 0.5 percent in step as the results soothed investors in the sector.

Swiss drug ingredients maker Lonza was another prominent gainer, rising 7 percent after upgrading its 2018 sales growth target and flagging “buoyant demand” from pharmaceutical and biotech clients.

French appliances company SEB topped the STOXX with a 10 percent gain after it also raised its sales growth guidance.

The biggest faller after results was British drug company Indivior, whose shares sank 20.5 percent after it said the blow from the launch of a copycat of its opioid addiction treatment would be bigger than expected this year. (Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Kit Rees)

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