UPDATE 1-Media stocks weigh on European shares as WPP sinks

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 1-Media stocks weigh on European shares as WPP sinks
Credit: © Reuters.

* STOXX 600 down 0.3 pct

* Investors ready for central banker pow-wow

* WPP sinks 10 pct after cuts forecast

* Umicore drops as Berenberg cuts rating

By Helen Reid

LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Unloved media stocks weighed on European markets on Wednesday, led lower by sharp declines in advertising giant WPP after it cut sales forecasts on weakening demand.

Investors were keeping a close eye on monetary policy, a day ahead of the start of a central bank symposium in Jackson Hole, though dovish comments by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi had little market impact. also shrugged off a PMI survey showing euro zone manufacturing businesses had their best month of growth in six and a half years in August. last couple of weeks everyone has been sitting on the fence; there hasn't been a big directional view and people are struggling to decide which way to get off," said Graham Secker, chief European equity strategist at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ).

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX dipped 0.3 percent while euro zone stocks and blue-chips .STOXX50E fell 0.2 percent.

WPP WPP.L shares lost as much as 10 percent value after the world's largest advertising group cut its full-year sales outlook after a drop in demand caused it to miss first-half targets. agency has been among the worst-performing stocks in the media sector, which has declined 4.8 percent overall this year against a buoyant broader European market.

"Deteriorating trading conditions are a concern and ...we are minded to trim our full year profit before tax forecasts by 4 to 5 percent," said Roddy Davidson, media analyst at Shore Capital.

The sector index .SXMP fell 2 percent, with WPP's French peer Publicis PUBP.PA down 3 percent.

Potash miner K+S SDFGn.DE was a bright spot, jumping more than 4 percent after a report in German business newsletter Platow Brief that hedge fund Elliott could be interested in the company. uncertainty over upcoming monetary policy pronouncements weighing on sentiment, utilities .SX6P made the biggest gains as investors reached for defensives.

Belgian chemicals group Umicore UMI.BR fell 3.5 percent after Berenberg cut the stock to "hold" on valuation concerns. It has gained around 19 percent year-to-date, outperforming the chemicals sector.

"Generating substantial upside to the current share price would require us to assume around 15 percent global pure electric vehicle sales penetration by 2025 (base case: 11 percent) or that Umicore captures over 60 percent of the global market for automotive grade NMC batteries by 2025," Berenberg analysts wrote. for the STOXX 600 were set to grow 15.3 percent in the second quarter year-on-year, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Nine of the ten sectors were expected to see an improvement in earnings in what analysts have called a "good, but not great" earnings season after a record-breaking first quarter.

Energy stocks have seen the strongest earnings growth, at 47.8 percent, while pharmaceutical companies, whose high exposure to the U.S. has made the stronger euro a headache, saw the weakest earnings growth rate, at -3.4 percent.

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