Bank stocks lead the way on the Iseq

Dublin index falls but many European shares ahead on corporate newsflow

Bank of Ireland finished ahead by 7.8 per cent to €4.83. Photograph: iStock

Bank of Ireland finished ahead by 7.8 per cent to €4.83. Photograph: iStock

 

Strong earnings updates from heavyweights such as Société Générale drove European stocks to a record-high close on Tuesday, although gains were capped by concerns over rising Delta variant cases and China’s regulatory moves. US shares were also rising in the afternoon session there.

Dublin

The Iseq fell by 0.2 per cent, despite strong performances from the two pillar banks in the wake of the SocGen update. Bank of Ireland finished ahead by 7.8 per cent to €4.83, while AIB was up 3.6 per cent to €2.17.

Dalata Hotel Group fell more than 3.3 per cent to €3.75, as travel-related stocks face fresh uncertainty caused by Covid restrictions. Ryanair was down almost 0.7 per cent to €16.65.

Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment fell more than 3.7 per cent to €140.30, as the global online gambling sector digested critical comments from a Chinese state-backed media outlet.

London

The FTSE 100 index had been trading up significantly, but dipped briefly into negative territory as New York woke up. It ended ahead by 0.3 per cent, driven by oil major BP, which surprised shareholders by upping its dividend. It lit a fire under the company’s shares, which closed up 5.6 per cent.

It was a good day for British insurers, as Hiscox ended up 5.7 per cent. It said it registered a profit of nearly £100 million in the first six months of the year, reversing a loss of about the same amount a year ago.

Fellow insurance giant Direct Line closed up 5.5 per cent after its pre-tax profits rose by more than a tenth.

Greggs shares travelled in the opposite direction, closing down 2.9 per cent even though it also returned to a profit. Trade in recent months has been stronger than anticipated, driven by the suburbs and local high streets.

Europe

After dipping into negative territory earlier, the region-wide Stoxx 600 index ended up 0.2 per cent at a record closing high of 465.38 points.

French lender Sociérale jumped 6.4 per cent after it lifted its profit forecast for the full year.

Technology stocks were rattled by Chinese officials taking aim at videogame makers. Dutch firm Prosus, which has a stake in Chinese tech giant Tencent, fell 6.9 per cent, while videogame makers Ubisoft and Embracer Group fell 5 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively.

The tech sector was also among the biggest drags after German chipmaker Infineon Technologies fell 0.4 per cent on flagging large production outages.

BMW slid 5.2 per cent even after raising its profit forecast for 2021 as it said the global chip shortage and rising raw materials prices would hurt its performance in the second half of the year.

Carmaker Stellantis climbed 4.2 per cent after it raised its full-year target on its adjusted operating profit margin.

The world’s biggest container shipping company, Moller-Maersk, fell 2 per cent after some analysts saw its outlook hike as “conservative”, as chaotic conditions in the global supply chain pushed freight rates higher.

New York

The S&P 500 rose on gains in Apple and healthcare stocks, even though concerns around a surge in the Delta variant of the coronavirus took some shine off an upbeat corporate earnings season.

Ten of the 11 S&P indexes were trading higher, with energy stocks rebounding after getting hit by a dip in oil prices. Apple Inc rose 1.3 per cent, although other heavyweight technology stocks including Netflix, Tesla and Facebook edged lower, capping gains on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

A clutch of US companies including industrial materials maker Dupont and Discovery reported better-than-expected quarterly results, but their shares fell as investors booked profits amid lofty stock valuations.

Grand Theft Auto creator Take-Two Interactive Software plunged 9.2 per cent also after it issued a disappointing sales forecast. – Additional reporting: Reuters/PA