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Europe: Earnings drive the day as stocks falter at one-month highs

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European stocks were caught in a tug-of-war on Thursday as results drove sharp price swings in advertising, tech and industrials stocks.

[LONDON] European stocks were caught in a tug-of-war on Thursday as results drove sharp price swings in advertising, tech and industrials stocks.

As the earnings season got into full swing, the pan-European STOXX 600 hovered at the one-month high it reached in the previous session, as investors focused on a mixed bag of company results.

Europe's biggest tech stock, business software provider SAP , was the heaviest drag on the index, falling 2.1 per cent to the bottom of Germany's DAX after its second-quarter results showed weaker than expected licenses growth.

Also a big faller was French advertising agency Publicis , its shares tumbling 8.7 per cent after an unexpected drop in second-quarter sales due to underperformance at its US healthcare communications business.

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It took British rival WPP down 2.7 per cent along with it.

Another disappointment came from Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever whose shares fell 0.4 per cent after its second-quarter sales fell short of expectations.

Among winners after results, French telecoms firm Iliad was boosted up 8.2 per cent by news the company had reached 1 million subscribers in Italy and would extend its low-cost offer.

Strong results drove industrials stocks higher. Swiss engineering firm ABB climbed 5.1 per cent after its second-quarter profit topped estimates, while Swedish industrial machinery supplier SKF also gained 3.6 per cent.

Results drove lock maker Dormakaba down 12 per cent to the bottom of the STOXX.

Bank stocks were the biggest support to the index, thanks to Sweden's Nordea and Spain's Sabadell both rising after results.

REUTERS