Miners drag Europe's STOXX 600 lower; German shares rise after Siemens' profit beat

A trader works at the Frankfurt stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February 22, 2022. REUTERS/Timm Reichert
  • German DAX index outperforms
  • UK's Jeremy Hunt hikes taxes, squeezes spending
  • Siemens optimistic of hardware, software demand

Nov 17 (Reuters) - Europe's STOXX 600 index closed lower on Thursday as declines in miners and healthcare stocks offset gains in shares of engineering and technology group Siemens that helped Germany's DAX outperform regional peers.

The continent-wide STOXX 600 (.STOXX) dipped 0.4%, but was still up 3.9% this month and on pace for its second straight month of gains on several factors including better-than-feared earnings despite worries of a recession in the euro zone.

Data showed Euro zone inflation in October was marginally lower than previously reported in year-on-year terms but still at a record high because of surging energy prices.

"Part of the reason why markets rallied so much in the last month or so is because consumer confidence is so low that it became hard to see it get much worse, so when the macro data is so weak, markets assume that you are getting to the troughs in the data," said Mike Bell, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management in London.

Germany's DAX index (.GDAXI) ended 0.2% higher driven by a 7% jump in shares of Siemens (SIEGn.DE) after it posted upbeat fourth quarter results and gave a confident outlook about future industrial demand.

London-listed power generators Drax (DRX.L) and Centrica (CNA.L) were other big gainers among the region, up 5.4% each, after British finance minister Jeremy Hunt said the average household energy bill would rise and kept a price cap until 2024.

Hunt announced a string of tax increases and tighter public spending in a budget plan that he said was needed after the blow dealt to the country's fiscal reputation by former prime minister Liz Truss. UK's blue-chip FTSE 100 index (.FTSE) ended 0.1% lower.

"Overall it reads quite comfortable. We needed somebody with a steady hand and steady view to deliver a budget that does actually show an explanation as to why things are being done and what the impact will be," said John Woolfitt, director of trading at Atlantic Capital Markets.

"It's a budget that really sets out in the best way they can to defend maybe the lower earners or the more vulnerable in our population."

The European basic resources index (.SXPP) slid 1.7% to lead sectoral falls after prices of base metals slumped against a firmer U.S. dollar. The index is still among the few that have stayed above water so far this year.

NN Group (NN.AS) dropped 4.1% after the Dutch insurer's 2025 targets came in below estimates. The AEX dipped 0.1%.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Sherry Jacob-Phillips, William Maclean

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