EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks End With Gains, Powered By Next, UniCredit

By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

But Deutsche Bank sees decline for Stoxx 600; pound shoved down against euro

Continue Reading Below

European equities finished slightly higher Thursday, aided by earnings-driven jumps for retailer Next PLC, defense supplier Cobham PLC and lender UniCredit SpA.

The Stoxx Europe 600 closed up 0.1% at 378.93 after a choppy session, putting the benchmark on track for a weekly gain of 0.2% with one trading session still to go.

But some strategists are sounding downbeat, as the index stays well below its mid-May closing high around 396.

"We expect a tactical pullback to 360 on the Stoxx 600," said Deutsche Bank's European equity strategists in a note Thursday, pointing out that regional stocks have fallen by nearly 5% from their mid-May peak.

"We think this pullback has further to go, as euro area PMIs fade from elevated levels and a strong euro weighs on European earnings. Our tactical Stoxx 600 model points to a local trough of around 360 by late October (around 5% below current levels)," the strategists led by Sebastian Raedler wrote.

Continue Reading Below

More earnings reports were delivered Thursday. Among notable movers, Next shares (NXT.LN) sprang up 9.7%. The U.K. clothing and home-furnishings retailer raised the lower end of its full-year sales guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/next-sales-rise-lifts-lower-end-of-guidance-2017-08-03) after an increase in the second quarter.

Cobham PLC (COB.LN) tacked on 8.4% as the British defense supplier kept its full-year outlook (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cobham-swings-to-profit-backs-2017-outlook-2017-08-03) and said it traded in line with expectations in the first half of the year as it swung to profit.

UniCredit (UCG.MI) drove up 7.2% as Italy's largest bank by assets said second-quarter net profit rose to 945 million euros (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/unicredit-profit-edges-up-on-higher-fees-2017-08-03-24853246)($1.1 billion), aided by higher fees and commissions as well as lower provisions for bad loans.

The Stoxx 600 had been in the red earlier Thursday, but it pared losses as U.K. blue-chip shares flipped higher. The move came alongside a slide in the pound against both the dollar and the euro (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pound-climbs-as-traders-wait-for-boes-super-thursday-2017-08-03) after the Bank of England cut its growth expectations for the British economy and its outlook for wages next year.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 leapt 0.9% to end at 7,474.77 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-listless-as-investors-wait-for-carneys-super-thursday-comments-2017-08-03).

See:Dovish or hawkish? BOE leaves traders confused after 'Super Thursday' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dovish-or-hawkish-bank-of-england-leaves-traders-confused-after-super-thursday-2017-08-03)

Other movers: Siemens AG (SIE.XE) (SIE.XE) fell 3.1% as the German industrial heavyweight said new orders fell in the third quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/siemens-profit-up-beating-views-new-orders-fall-2017-08-03). Net profit rose to EUR1.46 billion euros ($1.73 billion), above a Dow Jones Newswires consensus estimate of EUR1.36 billion.

ConvaTec Group PLC (CTEC.LN) slid 6.4% after the medical technology maker's first-half operating profit fell to $193.5 million from $209 million a year ago. The company said its Chief Financial Officer Nigel Clerkin will leave (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/convatec-swings-to-profit-names-cfo-designate-2017-08-03), but will continue as a director and CFO until Oct. 31.

Inmarsat PLC (ISAT.LN) fell 3.7%, with the satellite operator's second-quarter net profit falling to $43.6 million amid tough trading in some markets.

Finnish oil refiner Neste Corp. (NESTE.HE) sank 5.1% as the company's first-half operating profit of EUR236 million fell from EUR282 million a year ago. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected EUR244 million in operating profit.

National indexes: France's CAC 40 index was up 0.5% to end at 5,130.49, while Germany's DAX 30 bucked the largely positive trend among key indexes, falling 0.2% to close at 12,154.72.

The euro fetched $1.1881, up modestly from $1.1857 late Wednesday in New York.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2017 12:21 ET (16:21 GMT)