Tumultuous week sees European shares slide after Macron calls snap French election

Iseq index a sea of red as investors fear looser fiscal policies if far-right National Rally party wins

Pope Francis and French president Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Italy on Friday. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

European shares slipped again on Friday, compounding a jittery week as investors digested the knock-on effects from French president Emmanuel Macron’s gamble to call snap elections and a hawkish projection from the US Federal Reserve.


Markets are increasingly anxious after Mr Macron announced a snap legislative election following his party’s drubbing in the European Parliament elections. Investors fear a win for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party, which leads polls by a wide margin, will usher in looser fiscal policies.

Macron’s party at risk of wipeout as left forms unity pactOpens in new window ]

Irish shares were not spared the tumult, with the Iseq index a sea of red on Friday after falling 1.7 per cent following Thursday’s 1.4 per cent slip.

In line with similar moves across the EU, Irish banks lost ground, with AIB down 1.4 per cent to close at €4.79 per share and Bank of Ireland down 0.8 per cent to €9.72 per share.


Ryanair, meanwhile, moved 1.3 per cent lower to €16.77 per share as airlines slipped generally amid concerns about the resilience of the European consumer. Bloomberg’s airlines index was down 2 per cent on the session, with Air France and others dropping.

There was another big move for Origin Enterprises, which slipped 2.8 per cent to €2.97 per share after the agri-services group revealed a 20 per cent decline in revenues over its first three quarters on Thursday amid persistent poor weather through the winter and spring months.


European political upheaval and weaker-than-expected GDP figures for the UK weighed on British markets this week, with the FTSE 100 logging its longest weekly losing streak since March 2020 on Friday. The blue-chip index was down 0.2 per cent on the session while the mid-cap FTSE 250 slipped 0.4 per cent.

Among individual stocks, Tesco rose by more than 2 per cent after Britain’s biggest supermarket group reported a 4.6 per cent rise in underlying quarterly sales in its home market and reiterated its forecast. Grocery technology company Ocado, meanwhile, advanced 3.3 per cent while retailer Marks and Spencer slipped 0.4 per cent.

On the mid-cap index, Crest Nicholson surged 14.4 per cent after the home builder said it rejected a £650 million revised unsolicited proposal from rival Bellway, saying the deal “significantly undervalued” the group.

Moving in the other direction, Aer Lingus owner IAG slipped by almost 2 per cent, with EasyJet down 1.5 per cent. Industrial miners Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Anglo American, meanwhile, continued to slide on falling base metal prices.


Weighed down by tumbling French equities, the blue-chip Stoxx 50 index slipped 2 per cent, capping a week of losses, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell by almost 1 per cent after a tumultuous week.

Some of the biggest names on the Paris bourse finished Friday in red, with insurer Axa, down 4.9 per cent, the biggest loser on the day. Luxury stables Kering, down 3.8 per cent, and LVMH, down 2.7 per cent, also fell with Hermès and Ray-Bans owner EssilorLuxottica slipping a further 2.6 per cent each.

French banks BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale also logged losses on the session.


Wall Street’s main indices dipped again on Friday at the conclusion of a week fraught with the apparent contradiction of cooling economic data and a hawkish Federal Reserve.

By closing bell in Dublin, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were on track to advance for the week, however, with the latter lining up its biggest weekly percentage gain since late April. The Dow looked to be headed to end the week lower than last Friday’s close.

Broadcom extended Thursday’s gains with a 2.2 per cent rise after announcing an upbeat forecast and a 10-for-one stock split.

Sirius XM slipped 1.2 per cent after the Nasdaq said the stock would be removed from the Nasdaq 100 index, and replaced with Arm Holdings. Shares in Arm rose 4.9 per cent, meanwhile.

– Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times