Banks drag European shares lower as growth worries linger; AMS zooms
By Agamoni Ghosh and Medha Singh
(Reuters) – European shares fell on Tuesday weighed down by banks as investors parsed through a mixed bag of earnings, while sentiment remained fragile over growth worries after weak factory data from China clouded modest economic growth numbers from the Eurozone.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index edged lower by 0910 GMT as most major indices remained in negative territory with France’s CAC underperforming.
Banks were the biggest weight on the STOXX 600 with Danske Bank, caught up in a money-laundering scandal, falling over 6 percent after reporting first-quarter pretax profit below expectations and lowering its outlook for 2019.
Santander, the euro zone’s biggest bank by market value, also slipped after first-quarter net profit dropped. Nordea Bank and BBVA also reported lower profits and fell between 1 percent and 3 percent.
Standard Chartered, however, advanced after the bank announced plans for up to $1 billion of share buybacks, its first in at least 20 years.
The disappointing data from China, a big consumer of metals, weighed on basic resources stocks, which were the biggest percentage losers. Glencore’s move to cut its copper output forecast also weighed on the sector.
In contrast, markets did not react to the Euro zone economic growth data which was stronger than expected in the first quarter, rebounding strongly from a slump in the second half of 2018, while unemployment fell to its lowest rate in more than a decade.
“The stuff that matters the most for long term demand – the services, labour market – that in eurozone is in good shape,” said Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg.
“The Eurozone slowdown highlights the risk in the global economy which has spread to the domestic economy.”
Orange’s shares hit the floor of CAC 40, after the telecoms group’s quarterly revenue in France fell for the first time in two years, highlighting the tough competitive environment in the country.
Airbus slipped after the European planemaker reported a heavy drain on cash, which overshadowed slightly higher-than-expected core first-quarter profits.
Rising fuel costs and excess capacity in Europe dragged German airline Lufthansa into a first-quarter loss. The stock shed 3 percent.
Among the bright spots, chipmaker AMS jumped 20 percent, to touch a near six-month high after it beat forecasts for first-quarter profit and gave an upbeat outlook for the second quarter.
An Apple supplier, the AMS results came before Apple’s quarterly report which is due late on Tuesday.
Also helping the chip sentiment was an upbeat forecast from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd for the second half of the year.
Apple, General Electric and McDonald’s are due to report their earnings later in the day.
(Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh and Medha Singh, editing by Ed Osmond)