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LIVE MARKETS-Q4 earnings meltdown: liked the data? See the graphic!

* European stocks steady as trade talks loom

* LVMH jumps, driving luxury stocks up

* Lonza tumbles after sales miss, CEO retiring

* Atos (Paris: FR0000051732 - news) leads STOXX 600 after results

Jan 30 - Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to

you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Josephine Mason and Helen Reid. Reach them

on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves:

josephine.mason.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net and

rm://helen.reid.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

Q4 EARNINGS MELTDOWN: LIKED THE DATA? SEE THE GRAPHIC! (1251 GMT)

So, what to make with the STOXX 600 earnings growth expectations being slashed week after

week?

Well, as you know, some argue it's well priced in the market and some argue it's not.

So before you make up your mind, have a look at how bad the cuts have been since November:

(Julien Ponthus)

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IT'S GONNA GET BETTER BEFORE IT GETS WORSE! (1200 GMT)

It's usually the other way around, but according to SocGen (Paris: FR0000130809 - news) 's strategy team for European

equities, investors better "enjoy it while it lasts" because it won't!

Their advice is to take advantage of the current market optimism to get defensive and ready

for the big bad downturn which they forecast for the end of the year.

"We see downside for global equity indices in 2019, including European indices, as the

spectre of U.S. recession in early/mid-2020 is likely to begin impacting equity markets by the

end of the year," they write.

Their STOXX 600 forecast for end-year is particularly dire given that we are now just below

360.


It was quite a different message this morning from BlackRock (Sao Paolo: BLAK34.SA - news) which believes we may be close

to "maximum pain" given the gloomy macro scenarios priced in. They did however warn of possible

earnings downgrades along the road.

(Julien Ponthus and Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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CREDIT: HOW WORRIED SHOULD EUROPEAN EQUITY INVESTORS BE? (1137 GMT)

Credit has been the talk of the City for a few months now, as investors and analysts alike

point to company debt as a worrying area which could spill over into stock markets. But, for

both asset classes, January has been a month of recovery with the market wondering if things are

really as bad as they feared.

A potent cocktail of high balance sheet leverage, weaker earnings growth and tightening

liquidity conditions justifies the fears around credit markets, Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) ' European equity

strategy head Emmanuel Cau and team write.

But "fears of a full-blown credit crisis and contagion to equities should not be

exaggerated," they reckon, listing a handful of reasons why concerns may be overdone.

"Credit fundamentals are not getting any better, but headwinds look manageable for now, as

central banks are showing policy flexibility, banks are in a better shape than they were a

decade ago, and cost of debt is still low," writes Cau.

The bearish scenario, according to them, would be a choppy 2019 creating difficulties for

companies issuing bonds, and a recession in Europe in 2020 - which would spell trouble for

maturities in 2021.

Barclays' conclusion? "Care should be taken with generally challenged companies with

meaningful maturities in 2020/2021 and beyond."

You can see below how closely the STOXX 600 moves in concert with an ETF tracking the Itraxx

5-year Crossover (a CDS index tracking 5-year maturities for the 75 most liquid sub-investment

grade entities):

(Helen Reid)

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HEALTHY PAIR: LONG DRUGS, SHORT STOXX (1017 GMT)

As debate over making portfolios more defensive in the face of a slowing economy continues,

Eric Benoist, head of derivatives strategy at Natixis (LSE: 0IHK.L - news) , has taken a fresh look at a trade that

has been pleasing for a while already: Long Healthcare/short STOXX 600.

The pair has yielded more than 11 percent over the past 12 months and it's fair to ask

whether it's now too late to jump in. Benoist doesn't think so.

"Although a relative... P/E Ratio analysis seems to point towards a possible reversal in the

trend, we remain convinced that the European pharma sector will continue to benefit from the

current economic uncertainty," he says.

And here in bullets the drivers he thinks will forge the sector's performance going forward:

* Macroeconomic tensions are unlikely to dissipate in Europe this year

* Pharma valuations and financial metrics remain attractive

* Fears of margins contraction in the U.S. are probably overblown

* New (KOSDAQ: 160550.KQ - news) technologies will increasingly help optimise capex and R&D costs

* EM markets: the next billion patients

* Cash rich pharma majors will continue to pursue aggressive acquisition policies

(Danilo Masoni)

*****

OPENING SNAPSHOT: LVMH LIFTS LUXURY; LONZA AND NOVARTIS TUMBLE (0857 GMT)

Consumer discretionary is the top boost to European stocks today thanks to LVMH's

surprisingly strong results, which came as a relief to investors in the luxury sector and are

boosting Gucci owner Kering (LSE: 0IIH.L - news) , Hermes, Moncler, Richemont, Dior, and others as well as giving a

nice 6 percent lift to LVMH.

All that pessimism about luxury being dented by a Chinese slowdown has kept the sector muted

for a while, so no surprises that this good news is driving some of those bearish trades to

unravel rapidly.

The STOXX 600 is far from being exuberant overall, though, only just managing a 0.1

percent gain as heavyweight pharma stocks Novartis (IOB: 0QLR.IL - news) and Lonza, and German industrial giant

Siemens (BSE: SIEMENS.BO - news) drag the market down after disappointing results.

Novartis is down 1.9 percent and the biggest drag to the STOXX as analysts are not impressed

by its 2019 earnings growth guidance. Lonza is the biggest European faller, down 5.3 percent

after it reported sales under expectations and said CEO Richard Ridinger is retiring.

Atos and Alten (LSE: 0O1S.L - news) , meanwhile, are leading gainers after results from the two French IT

consulting groups.

Over in the UK, the FTSE 100 is up 0.8 percent thanks to sterling's slide overnight boosting

its dollar-earning exporter stocks with BAT a top gainer.

Here's your snapshot of top movers:

(Helen Reid)

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WHAT'S ON THE RADAR: LVMH REASSURES, SIEMENS DISAPPOINTS, OPHIR GETS TAKEOVER BOOST (0750

GMT)

European shares are set for a muted open as investors hold their breath ahead of crucial

U.S.-China trade talks. The FTSE 100 cut through the gloom with futures indicating a 0.6 percent

gain thanks to the translation effect of a weaker pound boosting London-listed multinational

exporters' shares.

LVMH shares are seen jumping 2-5 percent after cheery results from the luxury conglomerate

which said it is “cautiously” confident as fourth-quarter sales held up despite fears of a China

slowdown.

Ferragamo, on the other hand, could lose 2-3 percent, traders say, after the Italian luxury

group reported sales fell in 2018.

Weaker results from Siemens are likely to take 1 to 2 percent off the shares. The industrial

conglomerate reported weaker-than-expected industrial profit for its first quarter due to

profits at its power business plunging.

Siemens' CEO also fired shots at the EU over the Alstom (LSE: 0J2R.L - news) -Siemens merger facing regulatory

opposition, saying it will be interesting to see if European mobility will be decided by

"backward-looking technocrats" or "future-orientated Europeans".

Also in M&A news, French IT consulting firm Atos said it would distribute 23.4 percent of

shares in its subsidiary Worldline to shareholders. Worldline is indicated down 1-2 perecnt.

Dutch telecomms firm KPN (Amsterdam: KPN.AS - news) reported earnings that missed estimates and guided to lower cash

flow for this year, and its shares are set to fall 2 percent.

Pharma giant Novartis is indicated down 1-2 percent after it said it sees mid-single-digit

sales growth from its core businesses in 2019, but traders said its dividend was slightly less

than expected.

In the UK, oil exploration firm Ophir is seen jumping 5-10 percent after agreeing to be

bought by Indonesia’s Medco.

(Helen Reid)

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HEADLINES ROUND-UP: SIEMENS, KPN, LVMH, NOVARTIS (0715 GMT)

Futures are treading water this morning, indicating a slight dip for the Eurostoxx 50 and

the DAX, while the FTSE 100 is set to get a boost from the weaker pound.

Results from some of Europe's biggest hitters in industrials, luxury, and pharma are likely

to drive stock moves today while investors also look to the start of trade talks between the

U.S. and China, and the Fed.

Weaker results from Siemens could hurt the shares: the industrial conglomerate reported

weaker-than-expected industrial profit for its first quarter due to profits at its power

business plunging.

Siemens' CEO also fired some shots at the EU over the Alstom-Siemens merger facing

regulatory opposition, saying it will be interesting to see if European mobility will be decided

by "backward-looking technocrats" or "future-orientated Europeans"

Dutch telecomms firm KPN also reported earnings that missed estimates and guided to lower

cash flow for this year.

And from after the close yesterday, some cheery results from LVMH could help lift the mood

in the luxury sector: the luxury conglomerate struck a "cautiously" confident tone for the year

ahead as Q4 sales held up despite fears of a China slowdown.

Pharma giant Nobartis said it sees mid-single-digit sales growth from its core businesses in

2019 as it sheds its Alcon eyecare unit and a U.S. generics pills business to focus on newer

high-tech drugs.

Siemens CEO calls on Europe to approve Alstom rail merger

Siemens misses Q1 profit forecast as power problems persist

LVMH reassures on China as Vuitton handbags boost sales

Novartis sees 2019 growth as it sheds eyecare unit, narrows focus

Lonza Group (LSE: 0QNO.L - news) says profit rise driven by pharma, biotech

KPN Q4 earnings miss estimates; sees lower cash flow in 2019

Santander Q4 net profit 2.07 bln euro

French Q4 growth better-than-expected at 0.3 pct

(Helen Reid)

*****

FTSE BOOST BUT EURO ZONE UNDER PRESSURE (0633 GMT)

We've got a mixed start in Europe this morning, with Frankfurt and Paris under pressure amid

continued caution ahead of policy guidance from the Fed and the latest U.S.-China trade talks

and London drawing support from the weaker pound overnight to extend yesterday's rally following

the Brexit votes in parliament.

We've got an action-packed day with the Fed deciding on interest rates later in the session

and fresh talks between Washington and Beijing over the protracted trade dispute kicking off.

After raising rates gradually last year, the Fed is taking a wait-and-see approach to further

tightening in the face of an overseas slowdown and market volatility.

Tech will remain in focus after Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) 's results after the closing bell - the iPhone maker,

which warned earlier this month about a slowdown in China, reported sharp growth in its services

business.

Financial spreadbetters expect London's FTSE to open 35 points higher at 6,869, Frankfurt's

DAX to open 4 points lower at 11,215 and Paris' CAC to open 9 points higher at 4,937.

Back in the UK, the market would like more certainty that a no-deal Brexit was off the cards

rather than having to wait for PM May to head back to Brussels to attempt to renegotiate the

terms of the backstop again.

"The market was clearly not cheered by a result that legally keeps no deal on the table,

given that sterling has responded by surrendering some of its recent gains. Investors would have

appreciated a more conclusive view on rejecting such an outcome," said Geoffrey Yu, head of UK

investment office, UBS Global Wealth Management.

"All eyes will turn to the EU as the question now becomes what is achievable in new

negotiations. As things stand, an extension is not entirely unthinkable."

(Josephine Mason)

*****

(Reporting by Josephine Mason, Helen Reid, Julien Ponthus, Danilo Masoni)