European shares rise as investors seek safety in utilities, consumer goods

LONDON (Reuters) – European shares were slightly higher on Tuesday as investors flocked to stocks considered safe in times of economic uncertainty after a series of profit alerts from U.S. companies and prevailing worries about trade disputes.

Investors shunned stocks exposed to U.S.-China trade friction, and SAP, Europe’s most valuable technology company, came under pressure after its results.

pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.6 percent at 0920 GMT, with utilities and personal and household goods leading the gains. London’s FTSE 100 rallied over 1 percent ahead of the vote in Parliament in the evening on Brexit.

Frankfurt’s DAX, whose constituents are particularly exposed to China, was down 0.1 percent, as a series of profit warnings from Caterpillar, Whirlpool and chipmaker Nvidia overnight reinforced worries about the cooling Chinese economy.

News that the United States leveled criminal charges against China’s telecom giant Huawei just days before the next round of talks between Washington and Beijing to try and resolve the protracted trade dispute also added to the subdued mood.

Luxury goods, technology and auto stocks, which are particularly sensitive to trade frictions, were some of the biggest fallers. The autos index was down 0.6 percent while technology stocks were 0.1 percent lower.

LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods group, will report its 2018 results after the bell.

World markets slip on China worries; dollar steady ahead of trade talks

“Despite the positive start for European markets U.S. markets look set to open lower later today as investors wait for the next shoe to drop on the earnings front starting with Apple,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Among individual moves, Sartorius Stedim rallied 13 percent and Sartorius jumped after their results.

Elsewhere in healthcare, Siemens Healthineers sank 5.8 percent after the medical imaging gear and diagnostics equipment maker cautioned that the launch of its new blood and urine testing machines dragged on profits.

Hargreaves Lansdown was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 after its results and Britain’s Royal Mail hit all-time lows after failing to deliver its full-year results.