European bourses tread water ahead of US rate rise news
Trading volumes brisk in Dublin as ICG falls
Irish Continental Group, the owner of Irish Ferries, suffered a second day of falls
Trading in European shares was hesitant on Wednesday as investors awaited guidance from the US Federal Reserve on future interest rate rises. Trading in London was relatively flat. US stocks inched higher in anticipation of the Fed’s guidance.
Trading volumes were brisk but the Iseq finished the session up just 0.1 per cent in the black.
Irish Continental Group, the owner of Irish Ferries, suffered a second day of falls, closing the session down almost 1.5 per cent to €5.45. On Tuesday, it announced a raft of cancellations due to the late delivery of a new ferry from a shipbuilder. Davy stockbrokers estimated it could cost ICG up to €5 million.
Bank of Ireland fell 2 per cent to €7.10, as it had its first Capital Markets day in London in seven years. The bank is targeting a doubling of returns from its UK business.
Travel software firm Datalex fell 2.7 per cent to €2.87, a day after its own capital markets day, at which it outlined to investors how it plans to maintain growth.
The FTSE 100 was dragged down by Just Eat shares on competition fears from Deliveroo.
Just Eat fell 4.7 per cent as investors priced in heightened competition after rival Deliveroo said it would let restaurants use their own riders for orders placed through its app.
The move will pit Deliveroo directly against Just Eat, which only offers a platform for restaurants to sell and deliver food with their own drivers.
WPP dropped 11.5p to 1,235p as the advertising giant faced a bruising agm where nearly a third of shareholders rejected a bumper payout for outgoing chief executive Martin Sorrell.
Top bosses also faced a flood of questions surrounding his controversial departure and WPP’s trajectory as it searches for his replacement.
Sainsbury shares rose 1.6p to 308.2p despite news the grocery giant’s chief executive will be hauled before MPs to explain how the supermarket’s proposed £12 billion merger with Asda will impact farmers, suppliers and consumers.
Away from the top tier index, Dixons Carphone shares suffered after the retailer revealed 5.9 million customer bank card details and 1.2 million personal data records were hacked during a cyberattack last year.
Benchmarks barely budged, with all the action at the stock level. The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.2 per cent while Germany’s DAX added 0.4 per cent.
Spanish giant Inditex rose 3.5 per cent after the world’s biggest clothing retailer reported improved first-quarter profitability despite the dampening impact of a strong euro. Shares in the owner of fashion brand Zara had opened lower on profit taking and concerns around the quality of its results but later recovered with traders citing strong sales of its summer collections.
Tech stocks were the best-performing, up 1.7 per cent after shares in Dutch fintech firm Adyen rocketed up 90 per cent in its first day of trading following an initial public offering.
Paris airports operator ADP rose 6 per cent after the French government said it would prepare the legal ground for a sale of some of its corporate assets.
Media stocks were under the spotlight after a court approved AT&T’s $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner. Shares of the HBO channel owner rose 2.6 per cent. However, AT&T dropped 5.4 per cent, sending the S&P telecom services index down 3.75 per cent to its biggest single-day fall in nearly four months.
Other media stocks that got lift from the ruling include Twenty-First Century Fox, which surged 7.5 per cent as Comcast Corp is expected to outbid Disney for some of its assets.
Stryker jumped 4.3 per cent after the medical device maker said it was not in talks to buy rival Boston Scientific, days after a media report on a potential deal between the two companies.
Netflix rose 2.5 per cent after Goldman Sachs forecast that 2018 would be the peak negative-free cash flow year for the company.
(Additional reporting: Reuters/PA)