European shares pulled back slightly from 20-month highs on Wednesday as some disappointing corporate results weighed, though shares of French luxury group Kering hit a record high after reporting strong sales.
The pan-European benchmark fell 0.1 percent in early trades with financials the biggest drag. France’s CAC 40 was little changed hovering close to the nine-year highs hit earlier this week.
While broadly upbeat mood on equities, which has lifted world stocks to all-time highs, underpinned indexes, earnings reports were the biggest drivers of stock movers on the day.
French luxury group Kering was the top gainer, up 10 percent to record highs after strength at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, helped the company market expectations.
On the flipside, French stationery group BIC was the top faller, plunging 12 percent to a more than two-year low, after its first-quarter net income and sales fell.
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Fertilizer producer Yara fell 5.5 percent in healthy volumes, after it missed first-quarter forecasts as margins were squeezed by rising natural gas prices.
Credit Suisse, which kicked off much-anticipated results for European banks with a beat and plans for a $4 billion cash call, rose 2.8 percent. They were handily outperforming the 0.5 percent decline for the regional banking index.
Overall, first-quarter earnings for STOXX 600 companies were expected to rise 5.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data. Revenues are expected to increase 5.7 percent.
That compares to the 11.4 percent earnings growth expected for top U.S. companies.
(Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)