European shares hit 3-week low as SAP slides

Reuters July 18 | Updated on July 18, 2019 Published on July 18, 2019

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany.   -  Reuters

Technology stocks pushed European shares to three-week lows on Thursday after software firm SAP reported poor results, the latest company to warn about damage from protracted trade tensions as gloom about earnings spreads across global equities.

Shares in Europe's most valuable tech company dove 6 per cent after it said investors would have to wait till next year for a major improvement in margins as the business software group reported a 21 per cent fall in quarterly operating profit.

That added to nerves around the first batches of corporate results in Europe and the US this week and sent Germany's DAX to a one-month low. The pan-European stocks benchmark index fell 0.5 per cent by 0832 GMT.

“SAP's results show a trend that traders have been expecting,” said Cityindex analyst Ken Odeluga in London.

“A precipitation of some of the economic slowdown caused by the trade dispute that has sent a chill through the global trade environment and disrupted supply chains.”

Global stock markets have been recovering strongly from a sharp correction in May, driven by concerns about the impact of US President Donald Trump's trade war with China on growth.

But a combination of earnings nerves, and some slightly stronger economic numbers which may prevent central banks from weighing in with more monetary policy pump-priming, have weakened sentiment globally in the past week.

The Wall Street Journal reported overnight that progress toward a US-China trade deal has stalled, while the Trump administration determines how to address Beijing’s demands that it ease restrictions on Huawei Technologies.

That, along with some other disappointing earnings, including those for video streaming leader Netflix on Wednesday, drove losses on both Wall Street and Asian markets.

The European tech sector was down 2 per cent, and was on course to post its worst day in almost two months after the SAP and Netflix results.

“The technology sector in the US is a big part of what is happening in markets now. The failure of Netflix to meet its already low subscriber target in the second quarter should wash over to the Europe as well,” Odeluga said.

In a bright spot, Novartis rose 2.8 per cent after the Swiss drugmaker lifted full-year sales and profit targets.

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Published on July 18, 2019
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