October 20, 2016 / 8:52 AM / a year ago

European shares pegged back by flurry of profit warnings

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* Shares in engineers GEA, Keller, Senior all slump

* But airline stocks rise as Lufthansa hikes guidance

* STOXX 600 down around 6 pct since start of 2016

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - European shares slipped back on Thursday as a clutch of profit warnings from companies throughout the region took their toll on the market.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down by 0.1 percent, and is down around 6 percent since the start of 2016.

“Europe is a really slow-moving stock market at the moment. It does not look that attractive to me. There is too much economic uncertainty in Europe,” said Andreas Clenow, chief investment officer at Zurich-based ACIES Asset Management.

Shares in German engineering company GEA tumbled by around 20 percent after the firm slashed its profit guidance for this year.

Shares in British engineering company Keller and engineering solutions company Senior also dived after both companies issued profit warnings.

Shares in Swiss food group Nestle dipped after Nestle cut its sales outlook.

However, Lufthansa jumped 8 percent after raising its profit guidance, lifting the shares of other airlines such as Air France KLM.

Sharon Bentley-Hamlyn, director at Aubrey Capital Management, said European stocks were currently facing headwinds from a combination of lower earnings and rising bond yields.

Euro zone bond yields edged up on Thursday before the European Central Bank’s (ECB) latest monthly meeting.

The expectation is that ECB President Mario Draghi will reconfirm his commitment to stimulus measures and possibly drop hints on potential changes to the terms of the central bank’s asset-purchase programme to alleviate a shortage of bonds it can buy.

“We note that in the last 18 months or so, trailing-12-month EPS (earnings per share) have actually been declining in Europe while price earnings ratios have expanded, driven by falling bond yields,” said Bentley-Hamlyn.

“The problem is, if bond yields go up, this threatens equity valuations, particularly long duration assets and bond proxies like utilities, property, consumer staples and telecoms,” she added. (Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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