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Nov. 9, 2017, 12:16 p.m. EST

European stocks post biggest daily loss since June

Vestas shares hit hard after results; EU growth outlook lifted

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By Carla Mozee and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch


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Burberry shares tumbled after a downbeat sales outlook.

Europe’s benchmark stock index logged its biggest daily loss in more than four months on Thursday, as an early selloff gathered pace in the afternoon after U.S. stocks opened with losses.

There were big moves in stock prices for certain companies reporting results, including for Burberry Group PLC, whose shares tumbled by the most in five years.

What markets are doing: The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -1.08% ended down 1.1% at 390.07, marking its biggest one-day percentage loss since June 29, according to FactSet data. On Wednesday, the regional benchmark slipped less than 0.1%.

“U.S. futures were coming under more pressure than what we’ve become accustomed to heading into the open and I think this may have spread to other markets with investors possibly doubting that the usual ‘buy the dip’ mentality would kick in,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in emailed comments.

“Ultimately, markets are meant to see corrections along the way and this hasn’t been the case really throughout the rally recently. As it stands, I don’t think the moves are cause for alarm,” he added.

Germany’s DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -1.14% closed 1.5% lower at 13,182.56, while France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.79% gave up 1.2% to 5,407.75.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.59% dropped 0.6% 7,484.10.

The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.1590%  traded at $1.1650, up from $1.1596 late Wednesday in New York.

What’s moving markets: Investors continued to juggle corporate earnings reports. Shares that were deeply punished included Burberry Group and Vestas Wind Systems A/S. But German lender Commerzbank AG and AstraZeneca PLC were among those whose shares advanced.

Looking at the 78% of companies on the Stoxx 600 that have delivered results, growth in per-share earnings has slowed, according to research from Deutsche Bank. Growth was at 7.6% in the third quarter, compared with 26% and 18% in the first and second quarters, respectively.

In addition, the ratio of companies beating earnings expectations is at 51%, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2015, the bank’s analysts noted. Euro strength “has offset the positive impact from a strong growth backdrop during the quarter,” said Sebastian Raedler, head of European equity strategy at Deutsche Bank.

Exporters saw their beat ratio drop below 50% for the first time since 2016, in contrast to eurozone companies with high domestic revenues, which managed to beat expectations “comfortably,” he said.

Read: Is British leader Theresa May on her way out? Why that’s the fear—and why it matters

Stock movers: Burberry shares /zigman2/quotes/205386705/delayed UK:BRBY -0.50%   /zigman2/quotes/203108786/delayed BURBY -1.37%  slid 10%, suffering their worst session since September 2012, according to FactSet data, after the British company warned it doesn’t expect sales growth until fiscal 2021.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S shares /zigman2/quotes/205019303/delayed DK:VWS -4.41%  plunged 19% as the Danish wind-turbine maker cut a full-year margin forecast as it faces “a market that is seeing accelerated competition and decreasing profitability.” Vestas third-quarter profit and earnings fell short of expectations.

Shares of Commerzbank AG /zigman2/quotes/200193353/delayed DE:CBK +0.46%  popped up 2.4% as Germany’s second-largest bank said it expects to post a small profit for the full year. The company swung to a profit in the third quarter of €472 million euros, but that was less than an consensus estimate of €487 million.

AstraZeneca PLC /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN -1.00%   /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +0.09%  slipped 0.6% even as the drugmaker said third-quarter operating profit rose 12% to $1.15 billion, boosted by a one-off tax benefit. But product sales fell 3% stemming from the loss of the company’s exclusivity on Crestor and Seroquel.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC /zigman2/quotes/204872832/delayed UK:HIK -2.80%   /zigman2/quotes/208922860/delayed HKMPY +5.26%  was knocked down 4.1% as the company cut its guidance for its generics unit for a third time.

Economic data: The eurozone economy in 2017 is on track to grow at its fastest rate in a decade, bolstered by robust job creation, rising investment and decreasing debt, the European Commission said Thursday. The EU body expects gross domestic product to expand by 2.2% in 2017, up from its 1.7% forecast in the spring.

France’s economy is expected to grow 0.5% in the fourth quarter, according to a survey by the Bank of France. That would continue a run of stronger growth over the past year for the eurozone’s second-largest economy.

German exports and imports declined at the end of the third quarter, according to data from the Destatis statistics agency. Exports declined by 0.4% in September on the month in adjusted terms and imports fell 1%

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its survey on U.K. house prices showed slowing growth in October compared with September. Its monthly house price balance dropped 5 points, to plus 1 in October, below a Wall Street Journal consensus estimate of a reading of plus 3.

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Carla Mozée is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in London. Follow her on Twitter @MWMozee. Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter based in London. Follow her on Twitter @sarasjolin.

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