May 2, 2017 / 7:38 AM / a year ago

European shares stride into May as earnings power gains

LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) - European shares kicked off the first trading day of May with gains underpinned by healthy corporate earnings.

Financials and energy stocks provided the biggest boost to the pan-European STOXX 600 which was up 0.1 percent. French bluechips held near decade highs while Germany’s DAX hovered near a record.

Across Europe, 31 percent of companies had reported results, and 74 percent beat analysts’ estimates while 18 percent missed, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

British oil major BP gained 2.9 percent after its first-quarter profits tripled, thanks to higher oil prices and production.

It fueled a 0.5 percent rise in Europe’s oil and gas sector index, which handily outperformed other sectors. Banks were up 0.3 percent.

Fund manager Aberdeen gained 2.9 percent after its first-half results added to signs of fight back from active fund managers against the passive tracker funds eroding their market share.

The pace of outflows from Aberdeen’s funds slowed slightly and revenues rose 10.6 percent thanks to market gains and cost cuts.

Shares in online food delivery company Ocado jumped up to 8.9 percent. Traders cited a report of a delivery tie-up with supermarket M&S. Ocado’s shares are among the most-heavily shorted in the UK.

Among fallers, Swedish polymer producer Hexpol dropped 7.6 percent after broker Kepler Cheuvreux cut the stock to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’, saying that after a recent rally the company’s shares now reflected expected growth.

Airport retailer Dufry slipped 5 percent after its results. The company reported first-quarter organic growth of 7.2 percent, but traders cited weaker than expected earnings and cash flow. (Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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