European shares fall as investors assess earnings

Frankfurt - European shares headed for a fifth day of losses as investors assessed earnings reports, while awaiting data on US payrolls.

A measure of commodity producers posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, with Rio Tinto Group and Glencore weighing heaviest. Saipem SpA and Neste Oyj dragged energy companies lower.

The Stoxx 600 fell 0.4% to 327.31 at 10:46. The equity gauge is heading for a 4.4% weekly decline. It is trading at about 14.3 times estimated earnings, almost 10% below the valuation for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Amid volatile trading, the European equity benchmark closed down yesterday as sliding automakers and Credit Suisse Group AG outweighed gains in commodity producers. A gauge tracking equity swings has jumped 34% this year as the Stoxx 600 has lost almost 10 percent, with concern about bad loans at banks adding to worries about an oil rout and China’s economy.

Investors will look to a US report on January employment today for indications of the sturdiness of the American economy and the trajectory of interest rates in the wake of the turmoil. Economists forecast a 190 000 gain in nonfarm payrolls with unemployment holding at 5%.

Among stocks moving on corporate news, ArcelorMittal lost 7.4% after announcing plans to raise $3bn from investors and sell a $1bn stake in Spanish auto-parts maker Gestamp in a bid to ride out an industry slump caused by record Chinese exports.

BNP Paribas SA rose 4.3% after announcing a revamp of its investment bank to boost profit and free up capital, even as it posted a worse-than-estimated 52% decline in fourth-quarter earnings.

Volvo AB gained 1.3% after the world’s second- biggest truckmaker reported fourth-quarter earnings of 5.38 billion kronor ($640m), compared to a loss of 1.43 billion kronor a year earlier.

Hexagon AB advanced 8.2% after the world’s largest maker of measuring instruments announced better-than-estimated fourth-quarter profit and raised its dividend.

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