Easing US-China trade tensions boost markets

Market report: Lift for Kingspan after a poor run while Irish financials prove popular

Indications that the US and China might reach a trade deal and a slight easing of the risk of a second federal government shutdown in Washington boosted markets on Tuesday.


The Irish Stock Exchange ended weaker than other European markets as a number of bigger stocks under performed, dealers said.

Insulation and building materials specialist Kingspan rose 1.92 per cent to €38.16. Dealers said that investors' view of the stock improved in recent days, following a poor run, possibly because they expect positive news when the company reports 2018 results in the coming weeks.

Anticipation that cardboard box maker Smurfit Kappa will have good news when it publishes 2018 results on Wednesday pushed its stock up by 1.66 per cent to €25.72.


Low-cost carrier Ryanair shed 0.88 per cent to €11.24, which traders said was in line with its sector.

Building materials giant and index heavyweight, CRH, closed marginally up at €26.92 but traded at a low of €26.68 during the day before clawing back that ground.

Irish lenders were popular. AIB added 1.01 per cent to close at €3.818 and reached highs of €3.88 during the day. Bank of Ireland gained 1.55 per cent to €5.225. It traded up to €5.27 at one point.


Debenhams’ shares surged after banks threw the troubled department store chain a lifeline. The group is in talks with lenders and landlords as its struggles with a £360 million sterling debt.

A new credit line from some banks gives it an extra £40 million cash. Debenhams' shares shot up 28.25 per cent to 4.022 pence sterling following the news. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Louise Parker said the move gave the chain breathing space but noted that renegotiating leases was proving tougher.

Elsewhere, UK shares lagged European rivals as fears grew of a no-deal Brexit. Aer Lingus and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines' Group (IAG) fell 1.66 per cent to 652.6p as travel stocks did poorly. Budget airline and Ryanair rival Easyjet fell 1.67 per cent to 1,265p.

Tour operator TUI, which warned last week that profits would fall short of expectations, tumbled 7.5 per cent to 886.8p. In the same business, Thomas Cook shed almost 5 per cent to 26.22p.

Housebuilders Barratt Development, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, and Berkeley fell 1.7 to 2.4 per cent as investors ditched stocks seen as vulnerable to a no-deal Brexit.


Tyre maker Michelin got lots of traction with investors after reporting that second half profits beat expectations. Its shares accelerated 13.05 per cent to €102.60 in Paris.

Michelin's performance inflated Italian rival Pirelli, which gained 6.12 per cent to €6.068.

Lack of enthusiasm for travel stocks saw German airline Lufthansa dip 0.5 per cent to €22.03.

Thyssenkrupp fell 2 per cent after a mixed earnings report. The German steel-to-elevator company stood by its 2018/19 targets but reported a big drop in first-quarter results and warned that the global economic environment is darkening.


Wall Street's main indices rose more than 1 per cent on Tuesday. Trade-sensitive industrials climbed 1.3 per cent, boosted by Boeing, Caterpillar and 3M, which gained on hopes of a US-China trade deal.

Chipmakers, which depend on China for a huge chunk of their revenue, also rose and pushed the Philadelphia chip index 1.86 per cent higher.

The broader technology sector rose 1.19 per cent, lifted by gains in Apple, Microsoft and Intel.

Cosmetics maker Coty surged 14.4 per cent, the most on the S&P, after German conglomerate JAB Holding Co said it planned to hike its stake.

Electronic Arts jumped 3.4 per cent after the videogame maker's newly launched Battle Royale game showed it was winning victories with fans. Rival Take-Two lost 5.2 per cent following a downgrade by a 5-star analyst.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas