European shares bounce back as Allianz leads insurers higher
Milan: European shares inched higher on Friday, supported by gains in the insurance sector following a well-received update from German heavyweight Allianz.
The STOXX 600 added 0.2 percent by 0818 GMT, as stronger financial and materials stocks helped the pan-European index bounce back after suffering its biggest one-day loss since the end of June in the previous session.
Allianz (ALVG.DE) was the biggest single boost to the STOXX, up 1.3 percent, sending Europe’s insurance index .SXIP up 0.7 percent.
The German insurance giant posted a 17 percent decline in net profit and provided a slightly less rosy outlook for full year earnings as a spate of natural catastrophes weighed.
Traders said results at Allianz, which also announced a 2 billion euro share buyback plan, were in line with expectations and the new guidance was within an earlier range.
Its gains lifted the euro STOXX 50 .STOXX50E 0.2 percent higher. The euro zone blue chip index was, however, on track to post a weekly fall following 10 straight weeks of gains.
Leonardo (LDOF.MI) slumped 16 percent after the state-controlled Italian aerospace and defense company cut its 2017 targets, prompting a raft of broker downgrades on the stock.
Around 74 percent of companies on the MSCI EMU .dMIEM00000PUS index have reported results so far with earnings beats at 51 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Earnings beats on the broader MSCI Europe .dMIEU00000PUS index are at 55 percent, while in the U.S. S&P 500 .SPX beats are at 72 percent.