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Cyclicals and ex-divs send European shares to four-month low

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08/10/2017 | 06:22pm CEST
Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares dropped to their lowest level since late March on Thursday as cyclicals fell and some big stocks went ex-dividend, overshadowing a number of upbeat earnings reports.

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> index ended down 1 percent at 376.05, after touching 375.42, its lowest level since March 28 as basic resources <.SXPP> and banks <.SX7P> fell. Euro zone blue chips <.STOXX50E> slipped 1.1 percent.

In London, the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> lost 1.4 percent as large caps Anglo American (>> Anglo American), BT Group (>> BT Group), Rio Tinto (>> Rio Tinto) and Lloyds (>> Lloyds Banking Group) fell after going ex-dividend, while Germany's DAX <.GDAXI> retreated 1.2 percent.

Company results were back in focus after rising political tensions between the United States and North Korea hit risky assets globally on Wednesday.

Shares gaining ground included insurer Aegon (>> Aegon) and soft drinks bottler Coca Cola HBC (>> Coca Cola HBC AG), which rose 5.3 percent and 9.2 percent respectively after their updates.

Aegon beat expectations for its second quarter underlying pretax profit, while Coca Cola HBC shares hit a record level after first half sales were higher than expected.

"Aegon released a very strong set of Q2 results marked by a significant increase in the group SII ratio, strong underlying earnings and an improved outlook for capital generation," analysts at KBC Securities said in a note.

Telecoms company SFR (>> SFR Group) jumped 9.2 percent after Altice (>> Altice) raised its stake in the firm to more than 95 percent and said it was planning a full buyout offer for the remaining shares.

Second-quarter results, however, put pressure on shares in staffing firm Adecco (>> Adecco Group), chemicals company Lanxess (>> Lanxess) and consumer group Henkel (>> Henkel), which were among the biggest fallers.

Around 80 percent of MSCI Europe firms have reported second quarter earnings so far, of which more than 60 percent have either met or beaten analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Financials and the energy and materials sectors have seen the most beats, while industrials have had the most misses.

"Broadly in Europe, I had thought that (earnings) wouldn't be as good, partly because the strength of the euro would make (firms') export markets less attractive and earnings would be more impinged by that, but it doesn't so far seem to be the case," said James Butterfill, head of research and investment strategy at ETF Securities.

Societe Generale analysts said the relationship between the euro and euro zone stocks had flipped (see chart below).

"In the first part of the year, both the euro and euro zone equity markets were up, as the two assets were driven by a stronger economic outlook for the euro area," they said in a note.

"Since mid-May, the correlation has changed: the euro strengthening has become a headwind for the Eurostoxx index."

Shares in Belgian biotech firm Galapagos (>> Galapagos) were among top risers on the STOXX index, surging 8 percent after a successful mid-stage study for the firm's lung fibrosis drug.

(Reporting by Kit Rees and Helen Reid; editing by Alexander Smith and Susan Fenton)

By Kit Rees and Helen Reid

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ADECCO GROUP -0.21% 57.88 Delayed Quote.-22.36%
AEGON -0.04% 5.404 Delayed Quote.1.67%
ALTICE EUROPE -2.87% 2.401 Delayed Quote.-72.55%
ANGLO AMERICAN -2.15% 1644.2 Delayed Quote.6.11%
BT GROUP -1.67% 223.35 Delayed Quote.-17.80%
COCA-COLA HBC -0.30% 2644 Delayed Quote.9.26%
DAX 0.00% 12358.87 Delayed Quote.-4.33%
EURO STOXX 50 -0.49% 3409.44 Delayed Quote.-2.69%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.-5.90%
GALAPAGOS -1.24% 93.9 Delayed Quote.18.89%
HENKEL 0.78% 109.45 Delayed Quote.-0.82%
LANXESS 0.15% 69 Delayed Quote.4.09%
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP -0.65% 60.98 Delayed Quote.-10.40%
RIO TINTO -1.27% 3775 Delayed Quote.-4.24%
RIO TINTO LIMITED 0.11% 74.28 End-of-day quote.-2.02%
SFR GROUP 0.00%-End-of-day quote.28.59%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -0.24% 384.92 Delayed Quote.-1.10%
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Sales 2018 27 468 M
EBIT 2018 6 025 M
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Yield 2018 4,93%
P/E ratio 2018 8,89
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Technical analysis trends ANGLO AMERICAN
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 24
Average target price 25,1 $
Spread / Average Target 17%
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Mark Cutifani Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
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