Markets stumble on mixed inflation signals

Designer names get discount treatment

European markets stumbled on Wednesday as investors weighed mixed inflation signals that poured cold water on hopes that central banks would start cutting interest rates this summer.


Ryanair climbed 1.75 per cent to €18.32. The airline dipped earlier this week after reporting that fares were not increasing at rates it previously expected. Ferry operator Irish Continental Group shed 2.5 per cent to €5.44.

Smurfit Kappa climbed 1 per cent to €44.74, while insulation specialist Kingspan added 1.06 per cent to €88.55.

Dairy processor and food group Glanbia gained 1.34 per cent to €18.15. Cairn Homes dropped 1.95 per cent to €1.706. Lender Bank of Ireland added 1.95 per cent to €10.70.



Inflation of 2.3 per cent prompted economists to push predictions of a rate cut back two months to August, sparking a fall in the blue-chip FTSE 100 Index.

Miners slipped as investors cashed in profits earned on a this year’s boom in copper, denting the metal’s price on world markets.

Antofagasta tumbled 6.4 per cent to 2,256 pence sterling. Glencore retreated 3.4 per cent to 483p.

Marks & Spencer was among the day’s top performers after the department store chain posted a 58 per cent surge in profits amid buoyant food and clothes sales. Its shares rose 5.2 per cent to 288p as a result.

Water giant Severn Trent was 1 per cent higher at 2,639p at the close after it struck a profit of £201 million for last year, despite also witnessing a jump in sewage spills.

Mitchells & Butlers’ investors toasted bumper profits for the pub and bar owner on Wednesday as it benefited from easing inflation and cost-efficiency efforts. The All Bar One and Toby Carvery owner saw shares rise by 10 per cent to 292.5p after it recorded a pretax profit of £108 million for the 28 weeks to April 13th, up from £40 million for the same period a year earlier.


European stocks dipped after looking poised earlier for slim gains after British inflation figures showed little movement.

Luxury goods endured some austerity after privately held giant Chanel warned that the industry faced a more challenging period, despite reporting good growth. The fashion, cosmetics and jewellery group partly blamed faltering post-Covid Chinese spending.

Handbags and champagne maker Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy – whose products include Hennessy brandy – fell 2.1 per cent to €751.90.

Kering, owner of Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga among others, was down 1 per cent at €330.15, but the shares traded at lower levels during the day.

Fashion and accessories specialist Hermes International slid 4.25 per cent to €2,184 on Wednesday. Richemont, owner of Cartier jewellery and Mont Blanc pens, declined 2 per cent to 140.6 Swiss francs.

But beauty provided a bright spot, with L’Oreal climbing 1.3 per cent to €453.40. Chanel said that its fragrance and beauty business grew strongly across all categories, aided by a return of travel and increasing demand from regular shoppers.


Wall Street’s main indexes struggled for direction on Wednesday as investors kept to the sidelines ahead of AI chip leader Nvidia’s quarterly results and minutes of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting, due later in the day.

Nvidia stock was down 0.5 per cent early on Wednesday after nearly hitting a two-month high the previous day.

Chipmaker Analog Devices jumped 7.8 per cent, boosting the S&P 500 Information Technology index after forecasting third-quarter revenue above expectations.

Fashion discount chain TK Max owner TJX gained 5.2 per cent after raising its annual profit forecast.

Rival Target dropped 7.5 per cent after its quarterly earnings and current-quarter forecast missed estimates.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas