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Europe: Shares score second week of gains

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[LONDON] European shares rose on Friday, scoring their second week of gains as fears of a full-blown trade war were kept in check and optimism about the next corporate earnings season grew.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index rose 0.2 per cent supported by a broad range of sectors, from industrials to technology, bringing its weekly gain to 0.8 per cent.

Euro zone stocks blue chips rose 0.3 per cent.

UniCredit strategist Christian Stocker said the European equity markets had the potential to gain up to five per cent over the next few weeks as the earnings outlook was strong.

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"However, the further development of the US/China trade dispute is likely to remain a Sword of Damocles for the equity market," he said in a note.

Altran Technologies tumbled 28 per cent after the French technology consultancy said it had discovered a case of forged purchase orders within its recently acquired US design and engineering services firm Aricent.

The forgery "relates to one individual, in his relation with one client" for an amount of US$10 million, Altran said, adding that an investigation into Aricent's internal control procedures had been launched.

British recruitment company Hays rose 8.6 per cent rise after saying it expected full-year operating profit to exceed market expectations.

On the other hand, Switzerland's GAM Holding fell about 15 per cent as it said it would take an impairment charge of around 59 million Swiss francs (S$80.49 million) related to its 2016 acquisition of British hedge fund Cantab Capital Partners.

Still in the financial sector, shares in Norwegian insurance group Gjensidige fell 10 per cent after its second-quarter results disappointed.

Belgian telecom companies also suffered as the government considers allowing a fourth mobile phone operator to enter the market.

Telenet, Proximus and Orange Belgium fell 5.1 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.

REUTERS

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