Brexit concerns hamper European shares

Iseq outperforms peers, rising 0.22 per cent

Renewed concerns over a no-deal Brexit caused European shares to post a mixed result on Wednesday, with the Iseq outperforming peers, rising 0.22 per cent.


Hotel group Dalata was among the biggest losers on Wednesday, falling 6.32 per cent to €5.48 on the back of a trading update which detailed a poor second half to the year in the company's key market, Dublin.

Budget airline Ryanair was the biggest gainer on the smaller Iseq 20 index, advancing 1.68 per cent to €14.52. That's despite the fact the airline is one of the Boeing 737 Max's biggest customers with a firm order for 135 of the craft. Boeing said earlier this week it was suspending production of the Max following two fatal crashes.

Property names had a mixed day with I-Res Reit falling 0.38 per cent to €1.57 despite data from the Residential Tenancies Board noting that rents rose 8 per cent in the third quarter of this year. Housebuilder Glenveagh rose 0.51 per cent to €0.79.


Banks were still volatile a day after the Bank of England increased its capital reserve requirement on Monday. AIB increased 1.15 per cent on the day to €3.17 while Bank of Ireland fell 1.14 per cent to €4.85 per cent.

In other stocks, a relatively minor share sale by a Kingspan director pulled the company lower by 0.75 per cent to €53. Flutter closed the day up just 0.14 per cent at €104.75 after US private equity company CVC sold a portion of its shareholding in the stock.


Pearson rose 1.71 per cent after it said it would exit the consumer publishing space and that its chief executive would leave. The company also said it is selling its 25 per cent stake in Penguin Random House for $675 million.

NMC Healthcare rebounded slightly, a day after a short attack from Muddy Waters wiped off nearly a third of its market value, leading to its worst day on record. The UAE-based group stood by its 2019 and 2020 targets, sending its stock up as much as 10 per cent. It closed down 1.06 per cent.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.13 per cent.

Shares in Volvo gained 3.56 per cent after Japan's Isuzu Motors agreed to buy Volvo's UD Trucks business and tie up with Volvo to cut costs and develop electric and self-driving technologies.

Among other stocks, Peugeot maker PSA rose 1.36 per cent after Fiat Chrysler and the French carmaker agreed on a binding merger in a $50 billion deal. Shares in Swedish bank SEB slipped 1.69 per cent after the country's financial regulator said it had taken its investigation of anti-money laundering controls at its Baltic operations to a new level.

Among losers, Danish luxury TV and stereo maker Bang & Olufsen fell 16.42 per cent after cutting its revenue and operating margin outlook.

Shares in French drugmaker Ipsen, among the worst-performing healthcare stocks on the Stoxx 600 this year, fell 4.07 per cent after the company announced the departure of its chief executive.

New York

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq extended a record rally on Wednesday, even as FedEx limited gains after cutting its annual profit forecast for the second time this year.

FedEx shares were set for worst day since September after the US parcel delivery company cut its fiscal 2020 profit forecast on heavy expenses, slowing global trade and the fallout from its breakup with Amazon. com.

The results from FedEx also pressured shares of rival United Parcel Service.

The healthcare sector was boosted by Eli Lilly, which gained after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight".

In results-driven moves, General Mills rose as strong demand for the Lucky Charms maker's pet food helped it beat quarterly profit estimates. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

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