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Europe: Shares hold steady as results season steams along

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European shares struggled for direction in early trading on Tuesday though earnings updates from oil major BP, big banking stocks and a host of smaller UK companies kept things interesting beneath the surface.

[LONDON] European shares struggled for direction in early trading on Tuesday though earnings updates from oil major BP, big banking stocks and a host of smaller UK companies kept things interesting beneath the surface.

The pan-European STOXX 600 edged 0.1 per cent higher, while Germany's DAX also gained 0.1 per cent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2 per cent.

Earnings were the big focus following results from big hitters BP, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse .

Credit Suisse rose 0.8 per cent after the Swiss lender doubled its second-quarter profit.

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Rival Standard Chartered was the biggest banking faller, however, down 3.5 per cent after giving a half-year update.

Lufthansa led travel and leisure stocks higher. Shares in the German airline jumped 5 per cent after its second-quarter operating income beat estimates.

Shares in French media conglomerate Vivendi gained 4.6 per cent after reporting results and saying that it was considering selling up to half of its UMG music division.

Around 40 per cent of the way through the earnings season and half of MSCI EMU companies have beaten analysts' expectations, with reported actual year-on-year earnings growth clocking in at 8.6 per cent, according to I/B/E/S data.

BP's shares edged 0.4 per cent higher after the oil major's second-quarter profit beat expectations on the back of higher oil prices and increased output.

A number of smaller UK companies saw some big share price moves after their results. Shares in Travis Perkins tumbled 8 per cent and was one of the worst STOXX 600 performers after the building materials supplier cuts its profit outlook on the back of a weak DIY market.

Centrica and Rentokil Initial also fell after updates.

Elsewhere shares in Swiss group GAM Holding dropped more than 8 per cent after it suspended its investment directed following an internal investigation.

REUTERS