Earnings Results Lead Direction in Europe Today

LONDON -- Equity markets have been suffering in Europe this morning, under pressure as a series of weak earnings results add to a general contraction following recent gains. News from the U.K.'s Bank of England that the country is expected to show zero GDP growth in 2012 is adding to the negative sentiment across the continent, while further weak results from some U.S. names ahead of the open led direction to the downside even more.

With the ongoing concerns surrounding the European periphery never far from investors' minds in this risk-off environment, the Spanish IBEX (INDEX: ^IBEX) is one of the worst-performing benchmark indexes today, down 1.6%.

As always, the following price moves are based on this morning's European trading.

Swedish security firm Securitas (NASDAQOTH: SCTBF.PK) is making some of the deepest losses, down more than 9% after it reported net income of 368 million Danish kroner, well short of analyst estimates in the region of DK422 million. The company said sales rose by 8.6% in the quarter to DK17 billion, although, when adjusted for acquisitions and currency fluctuations, sales were actually unchanged year on year.

Finnish tire maker Nokian Renkaat (NASDAQOTH: NKRKY.PK) is down 6.8% after it reported earnings of 113 million euros, missing estimates of around 123 million euros. The company said economic uncertainty was discouraging retailers from stocking tires and also noted that predelivery of winter tires could be pushed back to the end of the year from Q3 as customers limit their spending.

Dutch financial ING Groep (NYS: ING) is also suffering from weak earnings results, down more than 2% after it announced that profit fell 22% in the second quarter. The reported net income of 1.17 billion euros fell short of estimates in the region of 1.2 billion euros to 1.3 billion euros. The company reduced its Spanish assets by 6.2 billion euros to 34.9 billion euros in the quarter while recognizing a 156 million euro bad-loan loss on its book for Q2.

Elsewhere, Spanish firm Amadeus IT (NASDAQOTH: AMADY.PK), which processes transactions for global travel and tourism services, is down almost 6% after news emerged that International Airlines Group hedged a 6.7% stake in the company at 16.5 euros per share, effectively indicating its belief that the company's share price could fall. The counterparty to the hedge trade, Nomura Holdings, in turn sold 492 million euros in Amadeus shares to facilitate its role in the hedge.

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