Irish stocks dip amid mixed reaction to company results
Investor confidence in a rally that has sent European stocks shooting up this year shows signs of fraying
Strong results from Glenveagh Properties and comments from the home-maker that it got off to a “fast start” this year on the sales front lifted its stock 1.5 per cent
The Iseq index of Irish shares dipped on Wednesday as the market took a breather following a 17 per cent rally since late December, and investors gave a mixed reaction to earnings reports and outlooks from companies including Paddy Power Betfair, Origin Enterprises and Glenveagh Properties.
European shares stalled as weak results from the troubled auto sector weighed and investor confidence in a rally that has sent stocks shooting up this year showed signs of fraying.
The Iseq declined by 0.6 per cent to 6,206.02, while the pan-European Stoxx eased back by 0.04 per cent from five-month highs.
Paddy Power Betfair ended the session down 2.5 per cent at €70.50 as investors looked beyond a solid full-year earnings report from the bookmaker to focus on expected costs as it grows its fledgling US business.
Permanent TSB declining by 5.4 per cent to €1.49 as Davy downgraded its stance on the stock to “neutral” from “outperform” as it took a red pen to its earnings forecasts for the bank as it ramps up digital investment.
However, Origin Enterprises soared 6.7 per cent to €5.58 as the agri-services company said its revenue for the six months to the end of January jumped 19.5 per cent.
A strong set of results from Glenveagh Properties and comments from the home-maker that it got off to a “fast start” this year on the sales front lifted its stock by 1.5 per cent to 87 cent.
The UK’s FTSE 100 inched 0.2 per cent higher as tobacco stocks gained on US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s departure and DS Smith rose after selling its plastics division, while Legal & General slipped after results.
British American Tobacco advanced 5.2 per cent to a near four-month high and Imperial Brands rose 1.3 per cent after US FDA commissioner Mr Gottlieb, who strove to curb use of flavoured E-cigarettes, said he would step down next month.
Packaging firm DS Smith added 3.7 per cent after agreeing to sell its plastics division to private equity firm Olympus Partners for an enterprise value of $585 million.
Auto stocks fell after German bearings maker Schaeffler warned of an “extremely challenging” business environment in 2019, and said it would restructure, sending its shares down 6.2 per cent.
German carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen tumbled, dragging the DAX down 0.3 per cent. Traders said the stocks were also hurt by an article in Handelsblatt saying the European Commission is preparing fines on German carmakers in an ongoing anti-trust investigation
Dialog Semiconductor jumped 2.2 per cent after the Anglo-German chip designer said revenue would suffer a single-digit percentage drop this year as it reduces its exposure to Apple.
Credit Agricole fell as much as 2.7 per cent after French newspaper Les Echos said its private banking unit Indosuez was among the banks named in a report about a money laundering network alleged to have channelled billions of euro from Russia. A Credit Agricole spokeswoman said Indosuez had “fulfilled all its obligations regarding anti-money laundering”.
US stocks were lower in mid-afternoon trading as investors stayed on the sidelines following a strong rally this year, awaiting fresh developments on trade.
The S&P 500 has risen about 11 per cent so far this year on optimism that the US and China will soon end their bitter trade row and the Federal Reserve will be less aggressive in raising interest rates.
General Electric shares tumbled, extending losses from a day earlier, after it warned of a negative net cash flow from its industrial businesses this year.
Exxon Mobil’s stock dropped after the company said it planned to increase capital spending next year to restore flagging oil and gas production.
Aon advanced 5.74 per cent after the company said it had scrapped plans to pursue a merger with rival insurance brokerage Willis Towers Watson. Willis Towers tumbled 6.08 per cent.
– Additional reporting, Reuters, Bloomberg