Bayer asset sale pushes European shares to almost four-month high

INM share price falls 4.63 per cent following resolution of boardroom row

Ireland’s benchmark Iseq index edged up by 0.44 per cent on Friday on a day of light volume and few significant stock moves.

In Europe, it was a more significant day with shares hitting their highest in nearly four months, helped by gains in Germany's Bayer.

Meanwhile, in the US, major Wall Street indices pushed up to record highs after a surge in technology stocks.


Volume in Dublin was generally light to close the week, with some exceptions, including Independent News and Media. The group saw more than 9.9 million shares traded on Friday which ultimately pushed the stock down by 4.63 per cent.


Housing stocks Hibernia Reit and Green Reit ended in positive territory on the last day of the trading week. The stocks closed up by 0.48 and 0.13 per cent respectively on respectable volumes. The real-estate investment trusts had suffered earlier in the week after budget news came announcing an increase in the rate of stamp duty on commercial properties.

There was little in the way of stock-specific news on Friday, but other positive movers included CRH, which edged up by 1.16 per cent, and Paddy Power Betfair, which closed up by 1.34 per cent.

On the negative side, Ryanair dropped by 0.18 per cent to close at 16.9, while the major Irish banks fell into negative territory. While Permanent TSB closed in the green – up by 1.37 per cent – its colleagues Bank of Ireland and AIB dropped by 0.73 and 0.18 per cent respectively.


Britain's major share index ended Friday within touching distance of the previous session's record close, boosted by a late rally in mining stocks but dragged down by gains in the pound and a profit warning from engineering group GKN.

Mining companies, which are predominantly dollar-earning constituents of the FTSE 100, provided some support to the index. Rio Tinto rose 3.3 per cent, Glencore 2.7 per cent and Anglo American 1.8 per cent.

Subprime lender Provident Financial shone among mid-caps, soaring 12.4 per cent to a six-week high after it said it had implemented a recovery plan for its troubled home credit business. The stock has plummeted about 70 per cent this year .

The top loser of the session was engineering group GKN, which sank 9.8 per cent after it warned that weaker trading in aerospace would cause full-year profit to miss expectations.


European shares hit their highest in nearly four months on Friday, helped by gains in Bayer, after the German drugmaker sold assets that will pave the way for its acquisition of Monsanto.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up 0.4 per cent, also underpinned by strength among steel-exposed materials stocks, with ArcelorMittal jumping 7.4 per cent.

Bayer was one of the biggest boosts to the Stoxx 600, up 1.2 per cent after BASF agreed to buy parts of its seed and herbicide businesses for €5.9 billion in cash. BASF fell 0.5 per cent.

New York

A surge in technology stocks sent the major Wall Street indexes to record highs on Friday, but a drop in health insurers kept the rally in check, while banks were little changed after mixed reports from Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Bank of America, the second-biggest US bank by assets, rose after the lender's profit topped estimates due to higher interest rates and a drop in costs. But Wells Fargo tumbled, set for its biggest drop since mid-April, after reporting lower-than-expected revenue for the fourth straight quarter due to a decline in mortgage banking revenue.

Gains were led by Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, while Netflix shares hit a record high.

The healthcare sector was down as health insurers tumbled on news that US president Donald Trump scrapped billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies to private insurers for low-income Americans. – (Additional reporting: Reuters)

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business