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Earnings drive the day as European stocks falter at one-month highs

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Earnings drive the day as European stocks falter at one-month highs

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LONDON (Reuters) - European stocks were caught in a tug-of-war on Thursday as results drove sharp price swings in advertising, tech and industrials stocks.

As the earnings season got into full swing, the pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> hovered at the one-month high it reached in the previous session, as investors focused on a mixed bag of company results.

Europe's biggest tech stock, business software provider SAP <SAPG.DE>, was the heaviest drag on the index, falling 2.1 percent to the bottom of Germany's DAX after its second-quarter results showed weaker than expected licenses growth.

Also a big faller was French advertising agency Publicis <PUBP.PA>, its shares tumbling 8.7 percent after an unexpected drop in second-quarter sales due to underperformance at its U.S. healthcare communications business.

It took British rival WPP <WPP.L> down 2.7 percent along with it.

Another disappointment came from Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever <ULVR.L> whose shares fell 0.4 percent after its second-quarter sales fell short of expectations.

Among winners after results, French telecoms firm Iliad <ILD.PA> was boosted up 8.2 percent by news the company had reached 1 million subscribers in Italy and would extend its low-cost offer.

Strong results drove industrials stocks higher. Swiss engineering firm ABB <ABBN.S> climbed 5.1 percent after its second-quarter profit topped estimates, while Swedish industrial machinery supplier SKF <SKFb.ST> also gained 3.6 percent.

Results drove lock maker Dormakaba <DOKA.S> down 12 percent to the bottom of the STOXX.

Bank stocks were the biggest support to the index, thanks to Sweden's Nordea <NDA.ST> and Spain's Sabadell <SABE.MC> both rising after results.

(Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Danilo Masoni)

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