EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Wrestled Lower, With Siemens Shares Down

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

European equities pulled lower Thursday, with German industrial heavyweight Siemens AG among the market's decliners, but stock in Italian lender UniCredit SpA was a bright spot in the struggling banking group.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 was off 0.3% to 377.58. No sector traded higher, and oil and gas and telecom shares were putting in the worst performance.

More earnings reports rolled in Thursday. Among notable movers, shares of Finnish oil refiner Neste Corp. (NESTE.HE) sank 7.7% 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.

On the top end of the Stoxx 600, Next PLC shares (NXT.LN) leapt 10% and were on track for their best session since January 2009, according to FactSet data. The 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.

The pan-European benchmark may log its second consecutive decline Thursday, as it fell by 0.4% on Wednesday. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-struggle-as-oil-and-bank-shares-are-dragged-down-2017-08-02)

"We expect a tactical pullback to 360 on the Stoxx 600," said Deutsche Bank's European equity strategists in a research note Thursday, pointing out that regional stocks have fallen by nearly 5% from their mid-May peak of 396.

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"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.

Stock movers: Siemens AG (SIE.XE) (SIE.XE) shares fell 3.1% as the company 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.

UniCredit (UCG.MI) shares drove up 4.5% 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.

ConvaTec Group PLC (CTEC.LN) shares slid 8.4% 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.

Cobham PLC (COB.LN) tacked on 6.6% 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.

Inmarsat PLC (ISAT.LN) fell 3.3%, with the satellite operator's second-quarter net profit falling to $43.6 million amid tough trading in some markets.

Bank of England: Investors were waiting for the BOE's "Super Thursday" trio of releases: its interest rate decision, August Inflation Report and minutes from monetary policy makers' meeting. The reports are expected to be released at 12 p.m. London time, or 7 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by a press conference with BOE Governor Mark Carney at 12:30 p.m.

The pound bought $1.3257 ahead of the event (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pound-climbs-as-traders-wait-for-boes-super-thursday-2017-08-03), up from $1.3224 in late Wednesday's trade in New York.

Read:Confusion reigns for investors ahead of Bank of England's 'Super Thursday' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/confusion-reigns-for-investors-ahead-of-bank-of-englands-super-thursday-2017-08-01)

National indexes: France's CAC 40 index fell 0.3% to 5,090.12, and Germany's DAX 30 fell 0.6% to 12,107.75.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.2% to 7,397.05, and Spain's IBEX 35 fell 0.9% to 10,419.50.

The euro fetched $1.1836, down from $1.1857 late Wednesday in New York.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2017 05:19 ET (09:19 GMT)