Oil boost fails to lift European stocks as earnings kick-off

European stocks
European stocks

European shares fell on Tuesday as battery maker Umicore kicked off a busy week of earnings with a grim outlook and investors grew concerned about China cutting additional support to its economy, but a rally in oil and gas stocks helped temper losses.

Thepan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3 percent by 0930 GMT after seven straightsessions of gains, with all major indices in the red except oil major-heavyLondon's FTSE 100 which rose 0.4 percent.

Earningsstarted to roll in on a not-so-positive note with Umicore tumbling 16 percent,after the Belgian group warned revenue and earnings growth in 2020 will belower than previous indications due to delays in the electric vehicle andenergy storage markets.

Umicore'sslide weighed heavily on Belgium's blue chip Bel 20 Index, pulling it 1.5percent lower.

Car partsuppliers Plastic Omnium and Faurecia also reported first quarter results. PlasticOmnium slid after warning of a decline in worldwide auto production, butFaurecia rose 1.5 percent after the company met its full-year target.

Belgium'sMelexis, which supplies semiconductor solutions for cars, slipped 6 percentafter first quarter net income tumbled.

"We'repausing for breadth ahead of a fairly busy week of earnings after a decentwinning streak," said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Groupin London.

The banking index eased from six-month highs with major European banks as UBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays slated to report earnings late this week after last week's mixed bag of results from big Wall Street banks.

"We've seenthe likes of record profits from J.P. Morgan but nothing close in Europe. Thenumbers aren't going to be great," said Lawler.

Earningsnumbers from some of the biggest S&P 500 companies, including Boeing Co,Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, are also due this week.

Paymentscompany Wirecard was among the biggest decliners after Germany's markets regulatorBafin's two-month ban on short-selling ended on Friday.

AholdDelhaize slid after the Dutch supermarket warned that a strike at its Stop& Shop chain in U.S. would hurt its underlying 2019 profit margin, as itmissed out on around $200 million on Easter week sales.

Renault fell1.4 percent after Nissan Motor Co Ltd said it would reject a managementintegration proposal from its French partner and called for an equal capitalrelationship, according to a Nikkei report.

Alsoweighing on sentiment was Beijing's indication to tone down its stimulusmeasures following unexpected signs of recovery from first-quarter economicdata last week.

Crude lift

The oil andgas sector was among the lone bright spots with Royal Dutch Shell, BritishPetroleum and Total, up between 1.7 percent and 2 percent.

Oil priceswere at 2019 highs on Tuesday after Washington announced all Iran sanctionwaivers would end by May, pressuring importers, mostly Asian, to stop buyingfrom Tehran.

Surging oilprices, however, took a toll on airline stocks. Air France, EasyJet plc,Lufthansa and Ryanair , all shed between 2 percent and 4 percent.

Getinge wasthe top performer on the STOXX 600 after the Swedish medical technology companybeat first quarter sales estimates and said restructuring measures will boostprofit in the second half of the year.

Thomas Cookjumped 14 percent after a Sky News report that the world's oldest tour operatorwas tentatively approached by several parties regarding a takeover of its touroperating division or the entire company.

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