* SAP down 3.2% despite positive Q3
* Miners hit by Evergrande troubles
* Unilever, Hermes beat earnings estimates
* Barclays, Nordea down despite strong earnings
Oct 21 (Reuters) - European stocks steadied at six-week
highs on Thursday, as buying of defensives and growth stocks
helped offset losses in miners and disappointing earnings
forecasts, including from software major SAP.
Sentiment was also subdued by renewed concerns about China's
property sector after the collapse of a $2.6 billion asset sale
at indebted developer China Evergrande Group.
After declining as much as 0.6%, the Europe-wide STOXX 600
index ended down 0.1% at 469.71. A European equity
strategist at Bank of America had earlier this month set a
year-end target of 420 for the STOXX 600, implying a fall of
about 10% from current levels.
European miners, which have a large exposure to
China, shed 3.0% as iron ore and base metal price
plunged. UK-listed shares of Anglo American
fell 2.7% even though it reported a 2% rise in overall
production in the third quarter.
"Mining stocks have been unable to shake investor concerns
sparked by yet another twist in the Evergrande saga," said Danni
Hewson, a financial analyst at AJ Bell.
Data on Wednesday showed euro zone consumer confidence fell
by 0.8 points in October from September.
Company after company has warned that supply issues and
price hikes aren't going to be a flash in the pan and are going
to impact earnings going forward, AJ Bell's Hewson said.
Europe's most valuable tech company SAP dropped
3.2% and was the biggest drag on the STOXX 600 despite positive
third-quarter results as traders were unimpressed by the
company's outlook, particularly its licensing forecast.
Swiss engineering and tech group ABB tumbled nearly
6.2% after it lowered its full-year sales forecast and warned of
shortages of components, while Sweden's AB Volvo fell
about 0.4% after it said chip shortages hampered production of
Nordic Semiconductor plunged 12.4% after its core
earnings fell slightly year-on-year and the company warned of
There was no relief for banking stocks either. The
sector fell 0.4% even though UK's Barclays and
Finland's Nordea reported upbeat quarterly results.
Spain's lender-heavy IBEX index slipped 0.8%, the
most among regional peers, after downbeat earnings at Bankinter
Defensive sectors such as personal and household goods index
rose 0.8% on the back of Unilever's
third-quarter earnings beat.
Luxury stocks were also higher after Birkin bag maker Hermes
rose 1.4% on strong quarterly sales.
Cartier-owner Richemont advanced 0.4% after HSBC
raised the brand to "buy" from "hold", citing its
leadership and momentum in the jewellery industry.
(Reporting by Anisha Sircar and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;
editing by Uttaresh.V, Anil D'Silva, William Maclean)