European share values pause after recent spell of strong gains

Bank of Ireland and AIB dragged lower amid weak session for European banking stocks

European shares paused on Thursday after recent strong gains, while data in Germany added to worries that the industrial sector will continue to drag on euro zone’s largest economy.

European statistics agency Eurostat confirmed its estimate that gross domestic product in the euro zone fell 0.1 per cent in the third quarter compared to the previous three months.


The Iseq index fell 0.8 per cent as financial stocks and Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment led the Dublin market lower.

On a weak day for banks across Europe, Bank of Ireland dropped 4 per cent to €8.21, while AIB was also hit, ending 5.1 per cent lower at €4.08. Index heavyweight Flutter, meanwhile, declined 1.15 per cent to close at €150.20.


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Packaging group Smurfit Kappa lent some support to the index, advancing 0.5 per cent to €35.19, while Ryanair added 06 per cent to finish at €18.54.


The FTSE 100 was little changed with investors on the sidelines ahead of US payroll data which could drive Federal Reserve rate cut expectations. The blue-chip index eased 0.02 per cent, with oil stocks among the worst performers as Brent crude prices held under $75 per barrel.

Vodafone fell 3.3 per cent after Exane BNP Paribas downgraded the telecom group to “underperform” from “neutral”.

Anglo American rose 1.2 per cent after sources said the miner is preparing to freeze spending on growth and widen job cuts in South Africa, going far beyond its initial savings target and paving the way to mothballing some higher-cost platinum mines.

Figures from mortgage lender Halifax showed British house prices rose for a second month in a row in November, adding to signs that the past year’s fall in house prices is bottoming out.

The midcap FTSE 250 index dipped 0.3 per cent after two sessions of strong gains.

Games Workshop Group tumbled 13.7 per cent after the miniature wargame maker issued a weak licensing forecast, while media company Future dropped 16.1 per cent reporting full-year results.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.3 per cent after touching a more than four-month high on Wednesday, while Germany’s Dax dipped 0.2 per cent after scaling a fresh all-time high in the prior session.

Fresh data showed Germany’s industrial sector struggling as the country’s industrial production unexpectedly fell in October.

Moreover, data showed Italian industrial output fell 0.2 per cent in October month-on-month, a fraction less than expected.

Shares of Spanish and Portuguese banks like Millennium BCP, Sabadell, Caixabank, Santander and Bankinter fell between 2.3 per cent and 5.9 per cent.

BASF shares rose 1.5 per cent after it said it plans to turn its agriculture, battery materials and coatings businesses into autonomous units to try to boost earnings in a major revamp for the German chemicals giant.

Thyssenkrupp fell 5.4 per cent as the company may need to hand over cash or keep hold of some pension liabilities to win over Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky as a co-owner of its steel business.


The Nasdaq outpaced other major Wall Street indexes as Alphabet shares surged, while investors looked forward to monthly payroll data for clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy actions.

Shares of the Google-parent were up 5 per cent as investors cheered the launch of the company’s most advanced artificial intelligence model called Gemini.

Among other big movers, Advanced Micro Devices rose 7 per cent a day after the chipmaker estimated there was a $45 billion market for its data centre artificial intelligence processors this year.

Pressuring the Dow, shares of Merck fell 1.1 per cent after the drugmaker’s immunotherapy combination failed in a lung cancer study. — Additional reporting: Reuters

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics