Smurfit Kappa lifts Iseq on subdued day for European stocks

French stocks remained under pressure while Wall Street was closed for a US public holiday

Bank of Ireland finished at €10.06, up 0.4 per cent in Wednesday trading

European shares ended lower on Wednesday, pressured by losses in real estate and technology, while UK stocks were buoyed by metal miners as investors digested its inflation data.

Wall Street, meanwhile, was closed for Juneteenth, a US public holiday, which meant trading across Europe was light in the absence of US market participants.


The Iseq rose 0.9 per cent, with the Dublin market lifted by a 4.2 per cent jump for Smurfit Kappa.

The packaging group closed at €44.26, securing its gain after news that the enlarged group being formed from its merger with US cardboard box-making peer WestRock is on track to be included in S&P Dow Jones indices after the deal goes through next month. This includes the S&P 500, the stock market index most keenly followed by investors.


Elsewhere, Ryanair edged down 0.3 per cent to €16.74, while Cairn Homes was 1.6 per cent lower at €1.64.

AIB rose 1.7 per cent to €5.09 and Bank of Ireland finished at €10.06, up 0.4 per cent.


The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed 0.2 per cent higher as investors digested a key inflation report that showed a sluggish decline in services inflation, while industrial miners tracking higher copper prices offset declines. The mid-cap FTSE 250 was down 0.1 per cent.

Investors grappled with a slower-than-anticipated decline in services price inflation in May, which the Bank of England believes offers a clearer view of medium-term inflation risks, although headline inflation fell to its 2 per cent target.

In the market, rate-sensitive sectors such as household goods and home construction and real estate stocks were the biggest losers with a 2.9 per cent and 1.9 per cent decline respectively. However, industrial miners rose 0.8 per cent in tandem with copper prices that hit seven-week highs.

Telecom infrastructure firm Helios Towers was the top loser on the mid-cap index, falling 7.8 per cent after a discounted secondary share placement. Anglo American gained 1.7 per cent after the miner said it expects a 30 per cent decline at its key Chile copper mine in 2025.

Meanwhile, homebuilder Berkley Group fell 6.3 per cent despite lifting its earnings outlook for 2025.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down almost 0.2 per cent, with the real estate sector falling 1.2 per cent and technology stocks dropping 1.1 per cent.

Basic resources stocks added 0.6 per cent, tracking a rebound in metal prices and leading sectoral gains.

Britain’s FTSE 100 reversed earlier losses to close up 0.2 per cent. Data showed UK inflation returned to its 2 per cent target in May for the first time in nearly three years, but underlying price pressures remained strong, meaning the Bank of England is likely to wait longer before cutting interest rates.

Market focus will now shift to interest rate decisions from central banks in Britain, Norway and Switzerland later this week.

The European Commission said France and six other countries should be disciplined for running budget deficits in excess of European Union limits, with deadlines for reducing the gaps to be set in November. The French benchmark Cac 40 closed nearly 0.8 per cent lower as French stocks continued to suffer in the wake of French president Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call a snap election.

Travel and leisure stocks added 0.6 per cent to the pan-European index, boosted by a 1.4 per cent rise in Accor after Barclays upgraded the hotel group to “overweight” from “equal weight”.

SMA Solar Technology plunged 31 per cent after the German solar power parts supplier cut its profit guidance, citing political uncertainty. Belgian metal recycling group Umicore jumped 3.4 per cent after a double upgrade from analysts at JP Morgan. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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