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European shares nudge up, earnings a mixed bag

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10/23/2019 | 01:59pm EST
The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) - European shares struggled to make headway on Wednesday as investor concerns about a further delay to Britain's departure from the EU offset gains for London's exporter-heavy FTSE 100 from a weaker pound and some decent corporate earnings.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> closed just 0.1% higher, with technology stocks <.SX8P> among the biggest drags after a sales warning from U.S. chipmaker Texas Instruments hit its European peers.

Shares in Infineon, Dialog and STMicroelectronics fell between 0.4% and 2.8% after the sector proxy forecast a 10-17% drop in current-quarter revenue.

Mining stocks <.SXPP> jumped 1%, lifted by a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly profit at aluminium producer Norsk Hydro.

The Peugeot and Citroen manufacturer PSA Group gained 3.2% after reporting a rise in third-quarter revenue on strong demand for its pricier SUV models.

"Broadly, I would say results are probably mixed. No dramatic trends," said Niall Gallagher, investment director at GAM.

As well as Peugeot, Gallagher highlighted positive earnings updates from Louis Vuitton owner LVMH and semiconductor equipment maker ASML last week as encouraging signs.

"They're evidence that growth remains fairly attractive," he added.

London's blue-chip FTSE 100 gained 0.7% as exporters on the index got a boost from a weaker pound after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal hit a new snag. FTSE midcap stocks <.FTMC> closed flat.

Britain's parliament rejected Johnson's tight timetable to legislate on the agreement before a Oct. 31 deadline, leaving EU leaders to consider whether to grant Britain a further three-month Brexit extension.

European stock markets have been rattled in the past few months by geopolitical concerns, a prolonged U.S.-China trade war and a manufacturing recession in Germany, the bloc's biggest economy.

After a solid 12% gain in the first quarter, the STOXX 600 index lost steam, adding 1.5% in Q2 and 2% in Q3. It is up 0.3% since the start of October.

Analysts expect a drop of as much as 5.3% in third-quarter corporate profits, worse than the 3.7% fall expected a week ago, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Heineken shares lost 3.1% after the world's second largest brewer said operating profit this year would be at the lower end of its previous forecast.

Shares in Swedbank fell 4.5% after it reported a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly earnings, while shares in Germany's Carl Zeiss Meditec tumbled 8.8% after its full-year EBIT margin fell short of its latest guidance.

Among the stronger performers, Danish jewellery maker Pandora jumped 16%, with traders pointing to an upgrade to "hold" by brokerage Carnegie.

Swiss engineering firm ABB gained 3.5% after its third-quarter profit fell by less than expected, even as it warned that conditions were weakening in the United States and China, its two biggest markets.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

By Sruthi Shankar

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ABB LTD -1.67% 23.49 Delayed Quote.2.27%
ASML HOLDING N.V. -1.91% 282.15 Delayed Quote.9.10%
CARL ZEISS MEDITEC AG -2.26% 108.1 Delayed Quote.-2.90%
COVESTRO AG -2.89% 39.91 Delayed Quote.-0.65%
DIALOG SEMICONDUCTOR PLC -1.90% 37.69 Delayed Quote.-14.92%
EURO STOXX 50 -0.92% 3786.34 Delayed Quote.2.44%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
HEINEKEN B.V. -0.43% 103.55 Delayed Quote.9.57%
INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG -3.02% 21.045 Delayed Quote.6.97%
LVMH MOËT HENNESSY - LOUIS VUITTON SE -1.13% 403.65 Real-time Quote.-1.06%
NORSK HYDRO ASA 0.57% 30.07 Delayed Quote.-8.21%
PANDORA AS -0.24% 334.6 Delayed Quote.15.77%
PEUGEOT -2.19% 18.97 Real-time Quote.-8.76%
SILTRONIC -3.26% 102.25 Delayed Quote.17.81%
STMICROELECTRONICS -1.81% 28.06 Real-time Quote.19.77%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -0.70% 427.11 Delayed Quote.3.48%
SWEDBANK -0.34% 161.35 Delayed Quote.16.10%
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS -2.02% 128.77 Delayed Quote.3.77%
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