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European shares off highs after U.S. data; VW drives DAX lower
November 4, 2015 / 3:45 PM / 2 years ago

European shares off highs after U.S. data; VW drives DAX lower

* FTSEurofirst 300 up less than 1 pct, DAX down 0.5 pct

* VW, Porsche fall more than 7 pct

* Miners rally, led higher by Glencore

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Nov 4 (Reuters) - European shares came off highs on Wednesday after strong U.S. data supported expectations the Federal Reserve will lift rates next month, while Germany’s blue-chip index sharply underperformed after a scandal at carmaker Volkswagen widened.

The FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.9 percent after initially gaining as much as 1.1 percent on the back of a fresh pledge from the European Central Bank to ramp up stimulus if necessary, while Germany’s DAX was down 0.5 percent.

After the close of European equity markets on Tuesday, ECB President Mario Draghi said the degree of monetary stimulus will be reviewed at the bank’s meeting in December and policymakers remained willing and able to act if needed.

“What goes on with central bank continues to drive markets. But if we look at the economy and at the mixed picture from company earnings it’s tough to be too optimistic,” said Jerome Schupp, Head of Research at SYZ Asset Management in Geneva.

With 55 percent of STOXX Europe 600 companies having reported earnings so far this quarter, 49 percent have beaten or met expectations, with 51 percent missing forecasts.

Schupp said he expected volatility to come back in the coming weeks as investors become more nervous about the Fed’s mid-December policy meeting, although monetary stimulus from ECB should help European equities make more gains by year-end.

Volkswagen fell 7.8 percent after it said it had understated the fuel consumption of 800,000 cars sold in Europe. Majority stakeholder Porsche was also down 7.2 percent after it warned that VW’s latest findings could weigh further on its results.

“Another week, another shock in the VW story,” analysts at Exane BNP Paribas said in a note. “VW’s latest admission on CO2 will have ramifications across the sector.”

The STOXX 600 Autos and Parts index was top sectoral loser in Europe.

Basic resources stocks were up 2.9 percent, the top sectoral gainer, on firmer copper prices and comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping that were seen as supportive to the economy.

Top riser was commodities firm Glencore, up 8.1 percent after saying trading was strong. It said it was on track to reduce its debt and boost liquidity thanks to asset sales, and plans to deepen copper output cuts to help lift prices.

Telefonica rose 2 percent after an upgrade to “buy” from UBS and as analysts expect the Spanish phone group to report on Friday its first quarterly rise in domestic revenues since 2008.

British retailer Marks & Spencer gained 3.2 percent as it raised its annual forecast for margins in clothing and homeware even though quarterly sales fell in this troubled division.

Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Alistair Smout in London; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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