European shares fall on downbeat earnings, SBB hits five-year low
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Real estate firms lead declines
SBB extends declines after dividend payment delay
Grifols top STOXX 600 gainer, lifts 2023 margin outlook
Updates prices to close, replaces analyst comment, changes stock movers
By Amruta Khandekar and Ankika Biswas
May 9 (Reuters) -European shares fell on Tuesday after a slew of weak corporate earnings soured sentiment, while investors keenly awaited crucial U.S. economic data for more clarity on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy plans.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX closed 0.3% lower.
SBB SBBb.ST fell 24.2%, extending its slide to a five-year low after the Swedish real estate company said on Monday it would halt dividend payments and scrap a planned share issue in the wake of a credit rating cut.
The move, coupled with declines of between 3.4% and 5.3% in peers Castellum CAST.ST, Wallenstam WALLb.ST and Fabege FABG.ST, saw Europe's real estate sector .SX86P take the worst blow, down 2.9%.
The benchmark STOXX 600 index has been resilient with a 9.4% gain year-to-date, but has come under pressure recently after the European Central Bank remained steadfast in its commitment to taming price pressures as investors await U.S. inflation data.
Policymaker Peter Kazimir noted that the ECB may need to raise interest rates for longer than anticipated, and September could be the earliest moment to judge whether policy tightening so far had been effective.
Readings on U.S. consumer and producer prices, later this week, will be assessed for any signs that inflation has cooled enough for the Fed to consider easing policy tightening soon.
"If inflation turns out to be higher, that would lead to market participants repricing the possibility of rate cuts from the Fed later this year and result in more dollar strengthening," said Teeuwe Mevissen, senior macro strategist at Rabobank.
Investors also awaited an update on the U.S. debt ceiling from a meeting between President Joe Biden and top Republican lawmakers later in the day, with an unprecedented default looming in three weeks if no deal is struck.
Further, China-exposed luxury firms such as Hermes International SCA HRMS.PA, Pernod Ricard SA PERP.PA and Kering SA PRTP.PA fell between 0.9% and 2.7% after weak data on the country's imports and exports.
Among others, Direct Line Insurance Group Plc DLGD.L lost 4.6% as the British insurer said it expected earnings to be pressured in 2023.
Most European bourses edged lower, while London's FTSE 100 .FTSE shed 0.2% after a long weekend.
Meanwhile, helping cut losses in the STOXX 600 was an 8.7% jump in German dialysis specialist Fresenius Medical Care FMEG.DE on better-than-feared first-quarter earnings.
Grifols GRLS.MC soared 9.4%, the top STOXX 600 gainer, after the Spanish drugmaker lifted its 2023 margin outlook, while Italy's third-largest bank Banco BPM BAMI.MI climbed 7.6% after raising its profit targets.
Of the STOXX 600 companies that have reported first-quarter earnings so far, 66.3% have beaten estimates, Refinitiv data showed, versus the typical rate of 53%.
Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Ankika Biswas; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Alex Richardson
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