UPDATE 1-Oil majors drag European shares lower, Siemens Energy tumbles
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* BP, Shell slide on weaker crude prices
* Siemens Gamesa eyes worst day since 2019
* UK’s Avast soars on merger talks with NortonLifeLock (Adds comment, updates prices)
July 15 (Reuters) – European shares fell for a second straight session on Thursday, as lower crude prices hit oil stocks, while Siemens Energy’s margin outlook weighed on wind energy companies.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.2%, with oil & gas sector falling 2.3%.
UK-listed oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP fell more than 2% as crude prices dropped on expectations of more supplies after a compromise between top OPEC producers.
Siemens Energy slid 9.5% after it scrapped its margin target as Siemens Gamesa — its wind power division — was hit by higher-than-expected raw material and product ramp-up costs.
Siemens Gamesa fell 14.5%, on course for its worst session since July 2019, while shares in wind turbine maker Vestas slid 6.4%.
Broadly, sentiment turned glum, with economically sensitive stocks like banks, automakers, and travel leading the declines as investors grew wary of rising COVID-19 cases across the continent.
Official data showed that the United Kingdom reported the highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since Jan.
The STOXX 600 had hit a record high on Tuesday on economic recovery optimism and a strong start to the earnings season, but concerns about inflation have weighed even as policymakers from major central banks stick to a dovish policy stance.
“After a decent run higher, the U.S. earnings season may well have elements of buying the rumour, selling the fact with lots of good news priced into upcoming results,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA said in a note.
“Still, equities remain near record highs.
So, despite the sideways shuffle last night, it really is business as usual.”
Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler slipped 0.1% after earnings at its car and truck divisions beat analyst targets.
Norwegian independent oil and gas firm Aker BP fell 2.8% after it posted weaker-than-expected second-quarter operating profit.
UK-based cybersecurity firm Avast Plc jumped 13.2% to the top of STOXX 600 after the company said it was in advanced talks over a merger with peer NortonLifeLock Inc .
That helped UK’s FTSE 100 stay afloat, while data showed the number of employees on British company payrolls surged in June by the most since the start of the pandemic.
Online fashion retailer ASOS tumbled 14.7% after it said sales growth slowed in June and higher costs didn’t translate to higher prices for consumers.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V
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