Dublin’s Iseq index stood out as a bright light across European markets, driven by a solid performance by banking shares, even as shares in London succumbed to Brexit uncertainty after the UK supreme court ruled that prime minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful.
The Iseq ended the session up 0.7 per cent at 6,113.38, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was little changed and the Ftse 100 in London dropped 0.5 per cent, as a rally in sterling against the US dollar weighed on exporting stocks.
UK opposition leaders called on Mr Johnson to resign, but a source in his office said he would not do so and remained committed to delivering Brexit on October 31st.
"We put the chances of a [Brexit] deal at just 10 per cent, a no-deal at some point at 40 per cent, more delays at 45 per cent and remain [in the EU] at 5 per cent," said Paul Dales, chief UK Economist at Capital Economics. "What we do know is that the performance of the UK economy will remain below-par until it is resolved."
Banking stocks advanced, with Bank of Ireland rising 2.6 per cent to €3.55 and Permanent TSB moving 2.6 per cent to €1.20, as sector followers chose to take a positive reading from the UK supreme court ruling.
Malin jumped 24.1 per cent to €3.60 on news that the company's main shareholder, embattled UK fund manager Woodford Investment Management, had sold most of its 23 per cent investment, removing an overhang in the market.
Bucking the trend, Origin Enterprises lost 3.6 per cent to €4.50 as investors moved towards the sidelines ahead of the company's full-year results, scheduled for release on Wednesday.
Shares of companies that book a major chunk of their earnings in dollars slid, with British American Tobacco
dropping 1.8 per cent and Imperial Brands giving up 3.5 per cent.
Falling iron ore prices hurt miners such as BHP and Rio Tinto, while lower oil prices hit oil stocks .
Among a few notable news-driven movers was mid-cap AG Barr, which jumped 3.4 per cent after the soft drinks maker stuck to its annual forecast despite a "disappointing" first half.
Among smaller stocks, Metro Bank sank 35 per cent, as the troubled lender ditched a £250 million (€284 million) bond sale on Monday after failing to attract investors.
AIM-listed ad agency M&C Saatchi slid 12.6 per cent to its lowest in more than seven years after warning annual profit would fall 5-10 per cent below estimates
Travel and leisure saw a 1.2 per cent jump, the largest of any sector, as airlines and travel operators rose on expectations that they would pick up lost business from British travel giant Thomas Cook following its collapse on Monday. TUI jumped 6.5 per cent to top the main index, while Deutsche Lufthansa, Ryanair and EasyJet gained 1-2 per cent.
Belgian materials and technology group Umicore rallied 5.8 per cent after it partnered with LG Chem for a cathode material supply deal.
US stocks fell in volatile trade yesterday, giving the S&P 500 its biggest daily drop in a month, as a push for the impeachment of US president Donald Trump gained momentum among Democrats in the US Congress.
Stocks briefly pared losses after Mr Trump tweeted that his administration would release a complete transcript of his call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky which is at the centre of a controversy. He said the released transcript would show the call was “totally appropriate”.
The Dow fell 142.22 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 26,807.77, the S&P 500 lost 25.18 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 2,966.6 and the Nasdaq dropped 118.84 points, or 1.46 per cent, to 7,993.63. – Additional reporting: Reuters