- STOXX 600 flat; up 8.3 percent so far in 2017
- Danone, Pearson up after well-received results
- Credit Suisse rises after activist investor move
- But Merlin slumps 20 pct on poor summer trading
- Airbus up after buying stake in jetliner programme
European shares steadied on Tuesday, helped by some well-received earning updates from companies including food group Danone and education firm Pearson.
Credit Suisse was also in the spotlight with its shares rising 1.9 percent on reports that activist investor RBR Capital has launched a campaign to break up the Swiss investment bank after building up a small stake in it.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat at 391.43 points by 0754 GMT, staying close to the four-month highs hit in the previous session. The index is 8.3 percent so far this year.
UK’s FTSE was also flat before inflation data and a testimony by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney later in the day, while Spain’s IBEX slipped 0.1 percent as worries over the crisis in Catalonia persisted.
Danone hit a fresh record high after the world’s largest yoghurt maker posted a better-than-expected 4.7 percent rise in underlying third-quarter sales, helped by a strong recovery in demand for infant milk formula and water products in China.
“The third quarter brings back momentum to the investment case; this was anticipated to a certain degree but the boost from Early Life Nutrition (market) in China is clearly higher than thought,” Baader Helvea analyst Andreas von Arx, who has a neutral rating on the stock, said in a note.
Danone rose as much as 2.3 percent before paring some gains.
Pearson soared 6.1 percent after predicting full-year operating profit in the top half of its forecast range, in the first positive trading news for the British education group in recent years.
Some results on Tuesday however disappointed.
Merlin Entertainments slumped 20.6 percent, set for its biggest one-day loss.
The operator of tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds waxworks reported a dip in trading in its key summer region, blaming a series of attacks in the UK and unfavourable weather.
Sartorius fell 8 percent. The lab equipment maker cut its 2017 profit and sales after destocking by some customers and a temporary freeze of deliveries from Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.
According to the latest Thomson Reuters Lipper report, third-quarter earnings for the STOXX 600 companies are expected to increase 5.3 percent from a year earlier. That compares to the 4.1 percent growth expected for the S&P 500.
Elsewhere, Airbus rose after agreed to buy a majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries jetliner programme. The deal would come at no cost for Airbus.
A trader in Frankfurt welcomed the deal saying it was a “great fit” as it would the European planemaker and aerospace group an extended product offering in a fast growing market.