Europe 2Q earnings highlights: SAP lifted by Cloud billings E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons by Geoffrey Smith" itemprop="author" class="article-byline-author"> Geoffrey Smith @FortuneMagazine July 17, 2014, 9:07 AM EDT It’s earnings season in Europe too. Thursday’s releases weren’t bad but were nothing to write home about either, and markets across Europe fell in response to the U.S. and E.U. announcing tighter sanctions on Russia. Here’s some of the day’s highlights: SOFTWARE: German business software company SAP AG SAP said net profit fell 23% to €556 million due to a litigation settlement, but the company’s shares rose 3.6% to a six-month high as it raised its outlook for revenue from Cloud-based services, saying Cloud billings were up 37% from a year earlier. BANKING: Scandinavia’s largest bank Nordea AB said net profit fell 11% on the year to €686 million, fractionally above a Bloomberg consensus forecast, due to record low interest rates that are pressuring margins. Its shares fell 1.8%, even though return on equity improved and the bank repeated plans to raise its dividend payout ratio. Its core tier 1 capital ratio rose to 15.2% from 13.6%, while return on equity rose to 12% from 11.4%, excluding restructuring costs. RETAIL: French retailer Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart, posted its highest quarterly sales in five years. Sales were flattered by a rebound from a very weak 2Q 2013 in Italy, one of its largest markets, and Chinese sales fell 2.4%, an improvement from a 3.1% decline in the first quarter. Reuters quoted CFO Pierre-Jean Sivignon as saying that analysts’ forecasts for a 6.3% rise in operating profit this year was “reasonable”. The shares fell 0.2% by lunchtime in Paris. PHARMACEUTICALS: Swiss pharma giant Novartis SA NVSEF said net sales rose 2% from a year earlier, and core net income rose 6%, adjusted for currency fluctuations. Both figures slightly missed consensus forecasts. The company is in the middle of reshuffling its portfolio of assets, but will need to concentrate on eking out cost savings in the near term, CEO Joe Jimenez told a conference call. The shares have flattened out after a 15% rally this year and were down 1.8% by lunchtime in Zurich.