European stocks fell from their highest level in more than six years as companies from Telefonica SA to Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) posted earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.
Telefonica dropped 2.6 percent after saying first-quarter operating income slid 14 percent. PGS fell the most in almost three months after also reporting lower profit margin. Petrofac Ltd. tumbled the most since November after predicting net income will decrease in 2014. Vestas (VWS) Wind Systems A/S rose 7.6 percent after posting an unexpected profit in the first quarter.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.3 percent to 338.54 at the close of trading, paring its fourth weekly gain to 0.2 percent. The benchmark gauge climbed yesterday to its highest level since January 2008 after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to ease monetary policy next month if needed.
“It’s a mixed picture in terms of earnings,” Philippe Gijsels, chief strategy officer at BNP Paribas Fortis, said by telephone from Brussels. “A lot of the indices are at or close to multi-year highs but we’ve had almost a bloodbath in quite a few individual names. What we got from the ECB yesterday was clearly positive, but underneath the positive tone from the market, there are some worrying issues.”
Thirteen companies in the Stoxx 600 reported quarterly results today. Profits for companies on the Stoxx 600 will climb 8.3 percent this year on average, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 retreated 0.4 percent, and Germany’s DAX dropped 0.3 percent. France’s CAC 40 slid 0.7 percent.
Telefonica (TEF) declined 2.6 percent to 11.73 euros. Europe’s second-largest telephone company said weaker demand for its wireless services in Spain and currency swings led to lower quarterly profit. Operating income before depreciation and amortization totaled 3.93 billion euros ($5.43 billion), missing the average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey that called for 3.97 billion euros.
PGS dropped 5.2 percent to 67.15 kroner. The Norwegian oilfield-services company reported first-quarter earnings before interest and taxes of $45.2 million, trailing analysts’ projection for $60.9 million. Group Ebit margin fell to 15 percent from 25 percent a year earlier.
Petrofac tumbled 15 percent to 1,177 pence. The U.K.’s largest oil-services company said it expects to report net income of not more than $600 million this year, compared with $650 million in 2013.
ArcelorMittal lost 3.4 percent to 11.50 euros as the world’s biggest steelmaker forecast that demand in the Commonwealth of Independent States may contract as much as 2 percent, from a previous estimate of growth of as much as 2.5 percent, because of the Ukrainian crisis.
Vestas rose 7.6 percent to 264.80 kroner. The world’s biggest wind-turbine maker posted net income of 2 million euros in the first quarter, after losing 151 million euros during the same period last year. That average estimate of analysts called for a net loss of 17.1 million euros.
Investment AB Kinnevik, the holding company of Sweden’s Stenbeck family, advanced 7.4 percent to 245.20 kronor. Online retailer Zalando AG, in which Kinnevik holds a 36 percent stake, reported a 35 percent increase in first-quarter sales.
Salzgitter AG added 4.7 percent to 32.69 euros, the largest advance in nine months. Germany’s second-largest steelmaker said its first-quarter loss shrunk to 8.7 million euros, from 16.1 million euros a year earlier. The company releases its full report on May 15.
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