Financials drag Irish and European indices lower
US shares edge up as investors shrug off North Korea’s latest missile test
Financials fell in Europe on Friday with AIB said to be causing the downward trend in Ireland. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
Ireland’s benchmark index closed lower on Friday dragged down by financials in line with a broader European trend. The story was similar in the UK where the FTSE 100 hit a four month low. Across the pond US shares edged up as investors appeared nonplussed by North Korea’s latest missile test.
After a busy day on the Irish Stock Exchange the benchmark Iseq overall index edged down by 0.69 per cent with financials causing the biggest drag on the index.
Bank of Ireland led the downward charge in percentage terms and closed at €6.85, down by 2.28 per cent on heavy volume.
Its drop, some Dublin traders believe, was linked to AIB’s fall by 1.6 per cent to €4.92. AIB dropped after reports emerged that the bank was planning on cutting mortgage rates – a measure that analysts say could have a potentially negative impact on margins. With more than 48 million shares traded on Friday, it was AIB’s biggest trading day since it went public earlier this year.
Index heavyweight CRH, meanwhile, had a positive day and closed up by 0.57 per cent at €29.94. While there was no stock specific news around the materials giant it is understood that the company stands to gain from the devastation caused in the United States and the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma.
Finally, Ryanair edged lower by 1.68 per cent on Friday following a European Court of Justice ruling on Thursday that some analysts suggest could cause the company to rewrite contracts, thus increasing costs.
The UK’s top share index closed at a four-month low on Friday, as a surging pound hit its largely dollar-earning constituents, with financials shares taking strong losses and only a handful of stocks ending the day in positive territory.
HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays, Prudential and Standard Chartered pushed down between 1.3 per cent and 2.3 per cent.
Outside of the blue chips, pub group JD Wetherspoon jumped to a record high after reporting a near-28 per cent jump in profit.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 and euro-zone stocks both fell 0.3 per cent.
Pharma company Grifols dropped 3.3 per cent as Kepler Cheuvreux analysts said a recovery in margins could take longer than expected, removing the stock from their Iberian top picks.
Moeller-Maersk fell 3.3 per cent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded it to “underperform”.
The top gainer was PostNL, up 2.1 per cent after Goldman Sachs upgraded the Dutch postal services firm to a buy after recent share price weakness.
H&M shares rose 1.7 per cent, helping the retail sector outperform for the second day, after the world’s second-largest clothing retailer said autumn sales had started well, though large markdowns capped its third-quarter sales at 5 per cent.
The three major Wall Street indices inched up to record highs on Friday, as investors shrugged off North Korea’s latest missile test and domestic economic data that did little to move the needle on the timing of an interest rate hike.
The tech sector jumped on Friday, powered by Apple and chip stocks. The semiconductor index surged boosted by a pop in Nvidia to a record high after a bullish broker call.
Also helping tech was Apple’s first gains since the launch of the new iPhones. The stock was up in early trade.
Boeing hit a record high, powering the Dow for the second day in a row, after a price target hike from Canaccord Genuity and new orders wins.
Among the laggards was Oracle, which sank as much as 6.5 per cent, headed for its worst day in more than four years, after disappointing forecasts for its profit and cloud business.
– (Additional reporting: Reuters)