Recovery rally for European stocks as cyclicals make a comeback
By Helen Reid
LONDON (Reuters) – European shares enjoyed a recovery on Thursday, snapping their longest losing streak since October 2016 as the cyclical sectors which had driven a market-wide sell-off made a comeback.
The pan-European STOXX 600 (.STOXX) index climbed 0.4 percent, with the cyclicals-heavy DAX (.GDAXI) up 0.5 percent while Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE) and Italy’s top stock index (.FTMIB) lagged, trading flat.
Financial services, autos and technology sectors were among the best-performing, driving the market higher while recovering oil prices also helped support energy stocks.
“European equities suffered recently from the stronger euro and some early profit-taking before the end of the year,” said Valentin Bissat, European equity strategist at Mirabaud Asset Management.
“After the recent underperformance, we should see cyclicals outperform again in the next few weeks with long-term interest rates rising and a steeper yield curve,” he added.
Investors continued to digest a raft of earnings updates, with most of the top movers reacting to results.
French telecoms firm Bouygues (BOUY.PA) led gains, up 4.2 percent after raising its profitability goal for the year, buoyed by a robust 37 percent jump in nine-month operating profits.
Facilities and catering firm Sodexo (EXHO.PA) however fell 4 percent as traders and analysts expressed disappointment over its margin guidance and annual revenues coming in slightly below consensus forecasts.
Swedish appliances maker Electrolux (ELUXb.ST) fell 2.9 percent despite saying it expected home appliances markets to grow in 2018.
The results were overshadowed by industry data showing home appliance shipments in the United States, a major market for Electrolux, fell 1.3 percent year-on-year in October.
Troubled British engineer GKN (GKN.L) sank 7.9 percent, the top faller after it announced a further write-off.
Broker action was also a driver. Biotech firm Genmab (GEN.CO) rose 3.6 percent after Bernstein rated it an “outperform”, while Wirecard (WDIG.DE) shares gained 3.2 percent after Berenberg recommended buying into the payments sector.
Italian banks Banco BPM (BAMI.MI) and BPER Banca (EMII.MI) were among the top fallers after Banca Carige (CRGI.MI) failed to clinch a cash call, reigniting fears around bad loans in the sector.
European equity strategists at Bernstein said recent risk aversion created a buying opportunity as “robust” earnings outlook continued to provide fundamental support for the market.
Overall the MSCI EMU index of euro zone companies is tracking earnings growth of 10.7 percent in dollar terms for the third quarter, with basic materials, financials and technology the main drivers of earnings beats. The broader MSCI Europe index is delivering 10 percent earnings growth.
Investors emphasised earnings beats were not all they were looking for, saying companies this quarter had delivered slightly disappointing top line revenue growth.
“Earnings are standing up better than revenues this quarter,” said Andrew King, head of European equities strategy at BNP Paribas Investment Partners.
“We’d like to see a bit more top line driven profit growth going forward if we’re really to get enthused about the profit recovery,” he added.
(Reporting by Helen Reid, editing by Danilo Masoni and Toby Chopra)