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LIVE MARKETS-Opening snapshot: Eurofins steals the show

Thu, 6th Aug 2020 08:58

Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters
stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Joice Alves (joice.alves@thomsonreuters.com)
and Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@thomsonreuters.com) in London and Stefano Rebaudo
(stefano.rebaudo@thomsonreuters.com) in Milan.

OPENING SNAPSHOT: EUROFINS STEALS THE SHOW (0735 GMT)

In a very busy morning, French laboratories and diagnostics company Eurofins
takes the spotlight as its shares surged to all-time highs after H1 results and company says it
hopes to launch more products aimed at detecting the presence of the coronavirus.

Overall European shares slipped in the first few minutes of trading but was flat at
0758 GMT, helped by some Eurofins and Aviva shares.

British life, motor and home insurer Aviva jumped more than 6% after it said it plans
to reduce its focus on Asia and Europe as it posted a 12% drop in H1 operating profit to 1.2
billion pounds. [nL8N2F8201

Meantime, BoE forecasts of a slower post-pandemic economic rebound in the UK hit London
stock market with both blue chips and mid caps underperforming the broader
European market, down 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively.
Disappointing quarterly updates from Glencore and AXA also weighed on sentiment. Mining group
Glencore shares dipped about 3-4% after it scrapped its dividend to focus on lowering
debt, while shares in French insurer AXA slipped 3.5% after it dropped its 2020
earnings target and said it would not make additional payouts to shareholders in Q4.

(Joice Alves)

*****

ON THE RADAR: GLENCORE, BEIERSDORF, INSURERS (0645 GMT)

European stocks are poised for a slightly lower open after a three-day rally as investors
digest another big batch of earnings updates as well as economic data from Europe and the UK.

On corporate front, Glencore becomes the last big name to cancel dividends as it
would instead prioritise lowering debt. French insurer AXA dropped its 2020 earnings
target and added it would not make additional payouts to shareholders in the fourth quarter
following a 40% decline in first-half net income.

But on a brighter note, Dutch insurer NN Group resumes dividend as its first-half
operating profit saw a marginal rise and the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on its results
remained limited.

Nivea-maker Beiersdorf meanwhile reported a 20% drop in H1 operating profit and
predicted a fall in sales and profitability for the full year; Italy's tyre-maker Pirelli
cuts its FY margin forecast for a second time and scaled back its cash flow guidance.

Dutch bank ING reports 542 million euros in Q2 pretax profit, below estimates, as it took
1.34 billion euros in provisions for bad loans amid the pandemic.

German reinsurance group Munich Re posted a 42% decline in second-quarter net
profit; and British life, motor and home insurer Aviva plans to reduce its focus on its
Asia and Europe businesses as it posted a 12% drop in H1 operating profit.

But there are also those beating estimates or raising outlooks, such as Denmark's Novo
Nordisk, German flavour and fragrance maker Symrise and Italy's UniCredit, which
confirmed next year's earnings goal after a smaller-than-expected drop in second-quarter
profit.

Merck KGaA raises its lower end of FY profit guidance range, as patients previously deterred
by lockdown measures begin to seek the company's treatments again.

Shares in Adidas are up 2.4% in premarket trade after the company said it expects
a rebound in profits in the third quarter, despite a worse than expected Q2 operating loss.

British outsourcer Serco reported a 53% jump in first-half profit on Thursday,
benefiting from strong overseas demand for its services and the acquisition of a U.S. naval
systems unit last year.

Siemens is seeing an improvement in its business in China but remains uncertain
about the development of the U.S., CEO said.

On the M&A front, Italy's broadcaster Mediaset says it is ready to start talks over
international growth with its investor Vivendi after it dropped plans for a
pan-European broadcasting platform which the French group opposed.

British shopping centre operator Hammerson plans to raise 825 million pounds
through a rights issue and disposal of its 50% stake in joint venture VIA Outlets to its partner
APG.

(Joice Alves and Stefano Rebaudo)

*****

MORNING CALL: BUSY THURSDAY AHEAD OF BOE MEETING AND U.S. JOB DATA (0540 GMT)

In a data-heavy Thursday, European bourses are seeing opening in the red as the three-day
rally runs out of steam as investors wait for a slew of economic data due to be released today
and a Bank of England policy meeting, alongside a fresh batch of earnings reports.

The euro zone and the UK are expected to release construction PMI data, while investors will
also have eyes on BoE, expecting the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged but to give
some signals whether it intends to cut them later on.

On the agenda, there is also U.S. job data at 1230 GMT, which will provide insights on how
the job market is coping with the pandemic.

Financial spreadbetters at IG expect London's FTSE to open 49 points lower at 6,056,
Frankfurt's DAX to open 62 points lower at 12,598 and Paris' CAC to open 25 points lower at
4,909.

(Joice Alves)

*****

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