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Europe: Shares buoyed by Adidas and SocGen, commodity stocks dip


[MILAN] Euro zone shares rose on Thursday, helped by solid earnings in Germany and France, although commodity-related stocks were hit by a stronger dollar.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 rose 0.2 per cent to 3,447.49 points, cutting gains in afternoon trade as Wall Street turned lower.

Germany's DAX and France's CAC were the regions' outperformers, boosted by some well-received earnings reports.

French bank Societe Generale gained 4 per cent after its third-quarter income rose 2.4 per cent as growth at its retail network and lower risk provisions helped offset weakness in investment banking.

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The results were much better received that those of rival Credit Agricole, which slumped 8.2 per cent.

Germany's Adidas, the world's second-biggest sportswear firm, rose 8.6 percent, having raised its full-year outlook for sales and profits after third-quarter sales growth beat market expectations.

"Brand Adidas has seen a turnaround with new initiatives and products. It is back to gaining market share even in the United States," said Kelper Cheuvreux analyst Jurgen Kolb.

Vestas Wind Systems rose more than 5 per cent after reporting a stronger-than-expected third-quarter operating profit before special items and raising its 2015 profit outlook.

Overall, however, earnings were mixed.

In Europe, about 60 per cent of companies have reported results so far, and about half have met or beaten analysts' earnings predictions, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

"We find that investors have differentiated more between winners and losers during the Q3 reporting season compared to recent quarters," said JP Morgan analyst Emmanuel Cau.

"The stock prices of the companies beating estimates have been strongly rewarded on the day, while the stocks missing estimates have underperformed significantly." Adecco, the world's biggest staffing group, slumped 10.6 per cent after posting a surprise half-billion euro net loss in the third quarter due to a 740 million euro (S$1.13 million) impairment of goodwill.

Brenntag, the world's largest chemicals distributor, fell 7.3 per cent after cutting its full-year core profit guidance, citing difficult macroeconomic conditions.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, denominated in euros, was down 0.4 per cent at 1,495.00, pulled down by the translation effects on pound-denominated stocks of a sharp drop in sterling.

Even as sterling weakened, Britain's commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index underperformed, falling 0.8 per cent.

The European mining index fell 3.3 per cent as metal prices came under pressure from a rally in the dollar. Copper hit its lowest level in a month after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pointed to a possible December interest rate hike.

"We are seeing a rotation out of commodity-related sectors, driven by a stronger dollar on prospects of a US rate hike,"said Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank in Munich.

A stronger US currency generally makes dollar-priced commodities costlier for holders of other currencies and hits metals demand.