By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
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European stock markets slipped on Wednesday, on the heels of a three-session winning streak that has seen the Stoxx Europe 600 index near its best level in four years.
Sectors on the move included banking, which traded higher after results from Société Générale, while drug stocks led the decliners.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.73% , which is headed toward its fifth-straight week of gains was flat at 403.90. The index closed up 0.2% at 404.23 on Tuesday.
The German DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.72% was flat at 13,144.15, while the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.20% was also unchanged at 5,847.88. The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.19% was flat at 7,385.31.
Data from Germany showed factory orders rising in September after two consecutive monthly declines. Meanwhile, the final composite purchasing managers’ index for the euro area showed the region remained “close to stagnation” in October, according to data provider IHS Market.
The pause for European stocks comes after the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.01% slipped 0.1% on Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.03% and Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.30% finished the day at record highs, after better-than-expected services sector data and more optimism over the prospects of a U.S.-China trade deal. U.S. stock futures were flat on Wednesday.
Earnings continued to stream out of Europe, with Société Générale /zigman2/quotes/206663756/delayed FR:GLE +0.08% climbing 2.8% after the French bank reported a slip in third-quarter profit, which also missed analysts’ expectations, and weaker revenue. But a key measure of capital strength — the core tier one ratio — rose to 12.5% in September from 12% at the end of June.
Shares of Adidas /zigman2/quotes/202556172/delayed DE:ADS -0.28% slid 2.4% after the sports retailer reported third-quarter net profit and sales that beat analysts’ expectations, but appeared to disappoint some investors with its outlook.
Shares of Royal Ahold Delhaize /zigman2/quotes/201849038/delayed NL:AD -0.50% climbed 3.7% after the Dutch retailer reported a 2.9% rise in third-quarter net sales, boosted by strong net consumer online sales. In the same sector, U.K.-based Marks & Spencer /zigman2/quotes/206225481/delayed UK:MKS +2.47% jumped 2.7% after reporting that pretax profit jumped 52% in the first six months of fiscal 2020, though it warned market conditions remain challenging.
ISS A/S /zigman2/quotes/200100701/delayed DK:ISS -0.39% was the worst-performing company on the Stoxx Europe 600, with shares in the Danish facilities business plunging 18% after a pre-earnings release for the third quarter showed organic growth of 8.4%, but also a significant warning on margins this year, UBS analysts noted.