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European shares fall as growth worries linger, Nokia tumbles

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European shares fall as growth worries linger, Nokia tumbles
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Staff   -   Copyright  STAFF(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – European shares fell on Thursday, weighed down by energy stocks and Nokia shares while investors parsed through a mixed bag of earnings in the region amid lingering concerns for the eurozone economy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.4 percent by 0730 GMT after the benchmark index’s eight session rally stalled on Wednesday.

Among the biggest drags was Finnish telecom network equipment maker Nokia which slid 10 percent after the company reported a surprise quarterly loss citing hard competition in its core networks business.

Nokia shares dragged the tech index lower after its 4 percent surge in prior session.

Switzerland’s biggest bank UBS advanced after its first-quarter results surpassed analyst expectations. This follows a surprise profit from its smaller rival Credit Suisse on Wednesday.

Britain’s Barclays slipped after reporting a 10 percent drop in the quarterly profit, as tough market conditions caused a drop in earnings at its under-pressure investment bank.

Swedbank fell 3 percent after posting an estimate-beating first-quarter profit but the Swedish lender admitted to previous shortcomings in combating money laundering.

The banking index shed 0.6 percent broadly as Germany’s benchmark 10-year government bond yield held below zero percent, a day after a disappointing German Ifo sentiment survey exacerbated growth concerns in the region.

Sainsbury’s slipped 6 percent after Britain’s competition regulator blocked the retailer’s proposed 7.3 billion pound ($9.4 billion) takeover of Walmart owned Asda.

On the other end of the index, heavyweight Bayer rose after the drug and farming supplies company posted a 45 percent gain in quarterly core earnings on the back of seed maker Monsanto’s acquisition.

ASM soared 7 percent to the top of the pan-regional index after the semiconductor company beat first-quarter targets. Meanwhile Germany’s Dialog Semiconductor rose more than 1 percent after forecasting higher than anticipated profits in the first quarter.

German payments company Wirecard extended a rally from the previous session as it reiterated its profit forecast for 2019.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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