Stocks rise amid strong US jobs data

Irish banks slide on interest rate speculation

Good news on US jobs helped boost European markets on Friday, continuing four straight weeks of gains for the benchmark Stoxx 600 Index.


Fears that a fall in interest rates could eat into big profits from mortgages sent Irish bank shares tumbling on Friday.

Dealers said AIB slid as much as 5 per cent at one point before closing 3.72 per cent down at €3.93. Peer Bank of Ireland ended the day 1.22 per cent off at €8.11.


Dealers said increasing speculation that interest rates could begin falling in coming months had deterred investors. “They’ve been making so much money out of increased mortgage rates,” one remarked.

Among the leading stocks, a 2.33 per cent hike in Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment’s shares to €153.70 lifted the overall Iseq Index on Friday. Dealers noted that group has been outperforming rivals lately.

One buyer moved for a four-million block of shares in housebuilder Glenveagh, which climbed 2.83 per cent to €1.162. Its shares reached €1.02 following several bigger buys last week. “That’s a nice move in a week,” said one trader.


London’s blue chip FTSE 100 ended the day at 7,554.47, leaving the index about 25 points higher than a week ago, following news that US joblessness was lower than expected.

Housebuilder Berkeley Group said its pretax profits were up 4.6 per cent at £298 million in the six months to the end of October. Shares in the business dropped by 3.7 per cent to 4,740 pence sterling.

Miner Anglo American slumped almost 19 per cent to 1,802.6p, their biggest fall since the financial crisis in 2008, after the resources giant announced $1.8 billion (€1.7 billion) in capital spending cuts over the next two years to combat weak metals prices.

In contrast rival Antofagasta climbed 4.23 per cent to 1,514p, making it one of the FTSE 100′s better performers on the day.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.1 per cent positioning it for a fourth consecutive week of gains.

In corporate news, Vivendi climbed 3.2 per cent to the top of the Stoxx 600 as the media firm is set to replace Worldline on the CAC40 index, effective from December 18th. The owner of Canal+ and Aelia Duty Free closed at €8.89.

Energy shares added 0.5 per cent tracking higher crude prices. German electricity group RWE dipped 0.15 per cent to €40.45, despite securing EU approval for €2.6 billion in government aid for phasing out coal.


Trade on Wall Street was “listless” despite positive jobs news on Friday. US Department of Labor figures showed non-farm payroll increased by 199,000 jobs in November, beating the generally expected 180,000. Unemployment slipped to 3.7 per cent.

Shares in Google owner Alphabet shares were a drag on the market, dropping 1.5 per cent after an AI-led rally in the previous session.

Investors pared back bets that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in March after the report, but they are still pricing in the likelihood that the US central bank is done raising rates. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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