China trade fears end European shares’ recovery

Low volumes in Dublin with Total Produce one of the biggest gainers on the Iseq

Shares in Abercrombie & Fitch slumped on Thursday after it failed to take full advantage of an unusually long summer in Europe

Shares in Abercrombie & Fitch slumped on Thursday after it failed to take full advantage of an unusually long summer in Europe

 

European shares fell back on Thursday as weakness in Chinese markets and worries over a trade dispute between the United States and China eclipsed optimism that a North American Free Trade Agreement deal could be struck by Friday’s deadline.

Dublin

Volumes were below average in trading in Dublin and with Labor Day looming in the US analysts are not expecting any great pick-up ahead of then.

The Iseq index followed other markets lower, closing flat at 6805.22.

Total Produce was one of the biggest movers of the day with more than a million shares traded after it announced a near 20 per cent rise in profits. It ended up 3.8 per cent higher at €2.15.

Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental, which also reported half-year figures on Thursday, closed up 0.7 per cent to €5.39.

Also reporting was financial services company IFG, which was down 2.5 per cent to €1.54 after it recorded a fall in the number of new clients recruited to its Saunderson House division.

Ryanair was down just over 1 per cent to €14.27 after agreeing that Fórsa will be the sole trade union for Irish cabin crew directly employed by the airline. Also lower was Smurfit Kappa, which has been experiencing difficulties with its Venezuelan operations. It ended down 1.8 per cent to €35.36.

London

Britain’s top share index fell to a two-week low on Thursday as pressure from a firmer pound hit the index’s dollar-earning constituents, though utilities were a relative bright spot. The FTSE 100 index was down 0.6 per cent at 7,516.03 at its close, extending the previous session’s losses, while mid caps were also down 0.2 per cent.

Utilities were among top gainers, with shares in United Utilities and Severn Trent up 1.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

Shares in SSE gained 0.2 per cent after Britain’s competition regulator gave its provisional approval to a merger between the retail power units of SSE and Innogy’s Npower.

Among smaller stocks, oilfield services provider Hunting was by far the biggest riser on the mid cap index, its shares surging nearly 12 per cent after it posted a profit for the first-half and reinstated its dividend.

Europe

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended the session down 0.3 per cent, while Germany’s DAX, which is sensitive to China due to its prominence as a German export market, dropped 0.5 per cent.

Shares in Europe’s largest property company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield fell 4.3 per cent even though the company reported a boost to profits from its acquisition of Australian shopping centre giant Westfield.

Shares in Swedish radiation therapy gear maker Elekta fell 10.5 per cent after it reported an unexpected drop in first-quarter operating profit. Bouygues was a rare gainer, up 4.4 per cent after the French conglomerate stuck to its full year outlook for rising profitability as its telecoms division improved.

Bringing up the rear was Swiss asset manager GAM which sank a further 10.8 per cent, hitting its lowest in more than nine years.

Wall Street

US stocks dropped in early trading on Thursday, after four straight sessions of gains, weighed down by concerns over the US-China trade war, even though gains in technology stocks helped limit losses.

Facebook was up 1.8 per cent and Apple rose 0.6 per cent. Amazon meanwhile rose as much as 1.4 per cent to a record high of $2,025.57, moving closer to joining Apple in the $1 trillion market cap club.

Elsewhere, Abercrombie was down 15.6 per cent at 11.15 am EST (16.15 Irish time) after its quarterly same-store sales missed estimates.

– (Additional reporting: Reuters)