Brexit uncertainty fails to dent Irish stocks

The Iseq all-share index rose just under 1.5%, buoyed by stocks with building exposure

Brexit uncertainty failed to trouble the Republic's main share index on Friday while other European indices gained primarily due to signs of progress in US-China trade talks.

In the US stocks rose on Friday, with the S&P 500 on track to post its best quarterly performance in nine years.


On a volatile day owing to Brexit uncertainty, the Iseq overall index rose just shy of 1.5 per cent.

With little stock-specific news, the index was buoyed by stocks with building exposure. CRH rose 3.36 per cent to €27.65, while Kingspan advanced 2.13 per cent to €41.26.


Some UK exposed stocks were troubled on the day, with Ryanair closing down 1.02 per cent to €11.66. It had fallen further earlier in the day.

Bank of Ireland dipped 0.47 per cent to €5.31 while rival AIB rose 0.81 per cent to €4.

Hotel group Dalata climbed by 1.91 per cent to €5.88.

Another large Iseq constituent, Kerry Group, rose 1.58 per cent to €99.50, helping boost the index as a whole.


Britain’s Ftse 100 rose on Friday, adding 0.6 per cent to post its third straight month of gains and its first quarterly rise since June 2018.

Blue-chip house builders, considered particularly sensitive to Brexit developments, hit session lows. Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley shed 1.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.

Oil majors gained as crude prices rose and were set for their biggest quarterly rise since 2009. On the flip-side, AstraZeneca slipped 5.6 per cent on its worst day since July 2017 after a cancer drug deal with Daiichi Sankyo that could have the British drugmaker pay as much as $6.9 billion to its Japanese partner.

London-listed shares of TUI hit a record low after the German tour operator issued a profit warning due to the grounding of Boeing's 737 Max aircraft in the wake of two deadly crashes of the model.

News was limited among mid-caps, but alternative investment manager Man Group advanced 3.8 per cent after Credit Suisse initiated coverage with an "outperform" rating.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 0.6 per cent, having earlier hit session highs on encouraging signals trade talks.

All sub-sectors within the pan-regional benchmark ended the quarter higher, led by the retail sector’s 20 per cent surge over the past three months. France’s Cac 40 outperformed with a 1 per cent gain on the day, while Germany’s trade-sensitive Dax rose 0.9 per cent.

Swedish-based apparel retailer H&M was among the top gainers on the Stoxx 600, up 9.5 per cent after reporting a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly pre-tax profit.

Shares in Galapagos surged 22 per cent after the Belgian drugmaker said it had seen positive results from several trials of a rheumatoid arthritis medicine.

Business software firm SAP and oil and gas major BP were also among the biggest gainers.

Nordea Bank shed more than 10 per cent, while Swedbank dropped 7.6 per cent. Both stocks went ex-dividend on Friday, while New York's financial regulator has reportedly sent letters to both as part of a money-laundering investigation.

New York

Trade-sensitive industrials rose and chipmakers, which have a large revenue exposure to China, also gained as US trade talks with China progressed. The broader technology sector inched higher.

Ride-hailing startup Lyft made its debut on the Nasdaq after the company raised $2.34 billion in its initial public offering.

DowDuPont fell after brokerages lowered their price targets on the chemical company, citing bad weather and margin pressures.

Celgene jumped more than 6 per cent, after proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services backed rival drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb's vote in favour of proposed takeover of the company. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

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