MILAN (Reuters) – A fall in commodity stocks and continued profit taking sent European shares to an eight-week low on Wednesday, but Airbus rallied after winning its biggest order.
Their falls helped send the pan-European STOXX 600 index down 0.6 percent to its lowest level since Sept. 20.
The index was on track or its seventh session of straight losses, its longest losing streak since October 2016 when markets fell in the run-up to the U.S. presidential elections.
Banks .SX7P were also among the biggest losers, down 1 percent, but falls were spread across sectors as investors continued to take profits following this year’s rally.
The STOXX 600 is still up nearly 6 percent so far this year.
Deutsche Bank strategists led by Sebastian Raedler expect the STOXX 600 to end the year at 395 points, 3 percent above current levels, before falling back to 375 in the first months of 2018.
“We remain tactically neutral near-term, but expect a pull-back… We are underweight European cyclicals versus defensives – and expect European equities to continue underperforming US equities over the coming months,” they said.
Some investors have reduced their exposure to European equities to position themselves for a correction even though they do not expect the underlying positive trend to change, given continued strength in economic data.
On the earnings front, data from Thomson Reuters IBES data show that 48 percent of companies listed on the euro zone MSCI EMU index have beaten analyst expectations while 40 percent have missed them. Earning beats stand at 53 percent for the broader MSCI Europe index and at 72 percent for the U.S.’s S&P 500.
Germany’s Lanxess (LXSG.DE) was among the biggest fallers on the STOXX on Wednesday, down 3.2 percent, after its earnings update did not provide any positive surprise.
“Third quarter numbers are okay whereas the portfolio change and the execution of Lanxess’ strategy is going as planned,” said Baader Bank Helvea analyst Markus Mayer in a note.
The company also lifted the lower end of its earnings guidance range for 2017 after strong demand for speciality chemicals but UBS said the increase was not enough to allow upgrades to consensus estimates.
On the positive side, Airbus (AIR.PA) rose 3.4 percent.
Airline pioneer Bill Franke placed a historic order for 430 A320neo-family jets in a deal worth $49.5 billion at list prices that marks a dramatic turnaround for Airbus, which had been lagging behind Boeing in the contest for orders.
The deal is one of the industry’s biggest deals by volume and the most planes sold by Airbus in one batch.
Reporting by Danilo Masoni Editing by Jeremy Gaunt