European shares nudge lower on Friday but hang onto weekly gain

Carlsberg Group dropped 9.3% after Britvic rejected a revised, unsolicited €3.7 billion takeover bid from the brewer

Britvic has rejected a revised takeover bid from Carlsberg. Photograph: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

European shares closed lower on Friday, pressured by falls in technology and bank stocks, while Danish brewer Carlsberg Group was the day’s worst performer after British soft drinks maker Britvic rejected its revised takeover proposal.

Global investors remained risk-averse as US equities traded in the red, as a rally in chipmaking giant Nvidia appeared to fizzle out.

Dublin

The Iseq index fell almost 1.4 per cent as AIB declined 3 per cent to €4.95 and Bank of Ireland fell 5 per cent to €9.61 amid weak sentiment in the banking sector, while there were also falls for other key stocks.

Insulation-maker Kingspan finished 2.7 per cent lower at €80.50, while packaging group Smurfit Kappa slid 2.7 per cent to €43.15, undoing some of its gain in the middle of the week when it emerged that the enlarged group that will be formed from its merger with US cardboard box-making peer WestRock is on track to be included in S&P Dow Jones indices.

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The declines were partially offset by a 0.3 per cent rise for Ryanair, which finished at €16.46, and a 1.75 per cent gain for food group Kerry, which closed at €75.70.

London

Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 slipped 0.4 per cent on Friday, but logged a 1 per cent advance for the week, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 fell 0.3 per cent on the day but held some ground to log its first weekly gain in four.

UK retail sales rose by 2.9 per cent in May, rebounding sharply from a revised 1.8 per cent decline in April. Economists’ poll had forecast sales volumes would increase by 1.5 per cent. The personal goods sector advanced 0.5 per cent, making it the top performer among FTSE 350 sectors, while banks were the worst performers with a 1.6 per cent fall.

Among individual movers, shares in Britvic surged 7.8 per cent after the soft drinks maker rejected a revised, unsolicited, possible cash offer from Carlsberg Group. United Utilities gained 1.6 per cent after analysts at JP Morgan upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “neutral”.

B&M fell 1.7 per cent after Morgan Stanley lowered its rating to “underweight” from “equal weight”.

Europe

The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 ended 0.7 per cent lower, with the technology subindex losing around 1.3 per cent and euro zone banks sliding 1.7 per cent.

Carlsberg Group dropped 9.3 per cent after Britvic rejected its €3.7 billion takeover bid, saying that the proposal “significantly undervalued” the group and its prospects.

Still, the European benchmark recorded a weekly gain of 0.8 per cent as the market focused on Swiss and British central bank decisions in the week, recovering from last week’s drop after French president Emmanuel Macron called a snap parliamentary election. The French benchmark Cac 40 index recorded a gain of 1.7 per cent for the week.

An upturn in business activity in Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy, also slowed in June, data indicated. Government bond yields across the continent slipped after the data release.

Denmark’s Zealand Pharma jumped nearly 19 per cent after an early-stage study showed a high dose of its drug helped reduce weight by an average 8.6 per cent after 16 weekly doses.

US

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell in early trading on Friday weighed down by chip stocks, while investors also assessed stronger-than-expected US business activity data.

AI chip firm Nvidia dropped 4.4 per cent, after losses in the previous session saw its market valuation fall back below that of Microsoft.

Semiconductor stocks Qualcomm, Broadcom, Micron Technology and Arm Holdings were down between 2 per cent and 5 per cent. Technology was the worst hit among the big S&P 500 sector indexes. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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