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Europe: Shares fall slightly led by Novozymes


[LONDON] European shares fell slightly on Wednesday as investors digested a slew of earnings reports including from Novozymes which touched a two-year low after trimming its full-year outlook.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.4 per cent, with pharma and oil stocks weighing the most. The index is down 6.6 per cent from a year ago.

Chemical company Novozymes slumped nearly 11.2 per cent, making it the biggest faller on the STOXX, after posting a lower-than-expected third quarter operating profit and trimming its full-year outlook to the lower end of its previous range.

"The deviations were due to poor performance in all divisions," said Jyske bank analyst Frank Horning Andersen, adding he expected to cut his estimates.

Finnish packaging firm Huhtamaki was another heavy faller, down 9 per cent, after its own update fell short of expectations.

Miner Antofagasta fell 3.2 per cent after saying it saw its full-year copper production towards the lower end of guidance, and expected output in 2017 to fall.

"Overall, we see these results as a negative, reflecting the challenging operating conditions at some operations,"analysts at Shore Capital Markets said in a note.

Among the gainers, Kering rose 7.8 per cent after its Gucci unit posted its first double digit growth since 2012.

"The most significant recent repositioning has been Gucci's move, under creative director Alessandro Michele, from a marketing-driven to a more creative direction," Goldman Sachs said.

"This has begun to deliver strong sales acceleration ... which we argue should persist as this approach is rolled out across the range."

Logitech jumped 16.7 per cent, topping STOXX gainers, after it saw a rise in second-quarter retail revenue.

Spain's IBEX rose 0.4 per cent, outperforming the broader European market, underpinned by a 6.1 per cent rise in British Airways owner IAG. The British airline agreed a new pension deal that will leave it room to pay dividends.

Lloyds Banking Group defied expectations of a squeeze on earnings after Britain's surprise vote to quit the European Union by reporting third-quarter profits largely unchanged from a year earlier. After a weak start its shares ended up 0.9 pe rcent.

Heavyweight drug maker Novartis fell 1.9 per cent after a price target cut. The stock was the biggest single weight on the STOXX index along with BAT, which fell 2.9 per cent.