Buoyant US jobs data helps global shares
Iseq underperformed European peers, remains flat on day of low volumes
Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
US jobs data pointing to an expanding economy helped global shares on Friday although the main Irish index lagged behind European peers.
The Iseq was relatively flat, with volumes light in advance of the bank holiday weekend even with a number of corporate earnings releases to consider.
Insulation giant Kingspan was among the leading losers, falling 3.11 per cent to €45.44, despite issuing a positive trading update ahead of its annual general meeting. Dublin brokers suggested there was no catalyst to push the stock higher and it dipped on the day.
Smurfit Kappa, which also held its agm on Friday, rose 1.18 per cent to €27.34 having enjoyed growth of 25 per cent in earnings during the first quarter of the year.
Another winner on the day was the State’s largest hotel group, Dalata, which advanced 2.5 per cent to €6.17 on the back of a research note by its joint broker, Davy, which upgraded its price target to €7.50. The stockbroker suggested the hotel group could quadruple its hotel room numbers in the UK to 10,000 by 2026.
Among financials, AIB was the biggest loser, down 3.09 per cent to €4.08 while Bank of Ireland was flat at €5.65 after its market share of new mortgage lending in the first three months of the year was viewed as being “slightly sluggish” by Investec analyst Owen Callan.
London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed 0.4 per cent higher, marking a smaller gain compared to earlier in the day when the index was up by almost 0.8 per cent.
HSBC posted better-than-expected first quarter profits as the banking giant was boosted by the performance of its retail banking and wealth management units. Its shares rose by 12.9p to 680.6p.
Takeover target Provident said it would ramp up cost-cutting measures as it continues to battle a £1.3 billion hostile approach from rival Non-Standard Finance (NSF). Shares jumped 5.4p to 517.8p.
InterContinental Hotels Group reported a slowdown in revenue growth for the first quarter. The Holiday Inn owner said that revenue per average room rose 0.3 per cent at constant exchange rates in the three months to March 31st. Shares dropped by 54p to 4,944p.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 0.4 per cent, rising up to 0.6 per cent after strong US jobs data, before trading back at mid-day levels.
French lender Societe Generale rose 1.13 per cent as its capital buffer was stronger than expected, helping investors shrug off a decline in quarterly net profit.
Adidas jumped almost 10 per cent to hit a record high after the sportswear maker’s quarterly net profit rose.
Fiat Chrysler jumped 4.6 per cent after the carmaker said new US pick-up truck models would help the automaker achieve its 2019 profit targets and offset a weak first quarter.
Meanwhile, Air France-KLM tumbled 5.5 per cent as the Franco-Dutch group blamed higher fuel costs and tough price competition for its first-quarter loss.
A more than 7 per cent fall by German telecoms group Freenet was the worst on the broader index after UBS downgraded the stock’s rating to “sell”.
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s comments on Wednesday that decline in inflation was likely due to transient factors dampened hopes of an interest rate cut this year, pushing the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq off their record highs.
Amazon rose 2.9 per cent after CNBC reported Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had bought shares of the internet retailing giant for the first time.
Newell Brand shares jumped 10.6 per cent after the consumer goods maker exceeded Wall Street expectations for quarterly adjusted profit as it benefited from cost savings and higher pricing.
Network gear-maker Arista Networks plunged 15 per cent, the most among S&P 500 companies, after it forecast weak current-quarter revenue. – Additional reporting: Reuters/PA