European equities rise led by Spanish stocks

Markets report: Mixed fortunes for airlines, while US tech giants fall again

European stocks edged higher, although the London market underperformed as sterling rallied, while on Wall Street, the early gains subsided as tech stocks declined.


The Iseq index finished 0.9 per cent higher in line with the positive sentiment across much of Europe.

Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta was one of the main movers, declining more than 9 per cent to 69 cent on its Dublin listing after its potential sale to a unit of US hedge fund Elliott Management was thrown into doubt as a group of dissident shareholders scored a boardroom coup.

Elsewhere, there was momentum for Ryanair, with the airline adding 3 per cent to €12.44, while building materials group CRH, the largest stock on the index, advanced 1 per cent to €33.21.


There were contrasting fortunes for AIB and Bank of Ireland. The former added 1.3 per cent to €1.03, while Bank of Ireland slipped 0.5 per cent to €1.84.

Cairn Homes, which received the green light to build 611 apartments on Dublin 4 land previously owned by broadcaster RTÉ, rose 2.5 per cent to 81 cent. Ires Reit was another climber, rising 3.6 per cent to €1.44.


The FTSE 100 closed down about 0.45 per cent, going against the European trend, as its exporter constituents slid in response to a recovery for sterling on currency markets. The pound gained on hopes that the UK might avoid a no-deal Brexit. The mid-caps on the more domestically focused FTSE 250 edged down just 0.1 per cent.

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of Aer Lingus, fell 0.9 per cent after British Airways boss Alex Cruz said people were still scared to travel and the company was fighting for survival.

Rival travel group TUI dropped almost 6 per cent after it said it would refund all customers whose trips were called off because of the pandemic.

Redrow fell 1.75 per cent after the housebuilder said its profits had declined by more than 65 per cent. Rolls-Royce was among the biggest fallers, ending 5.4 per cent lower. Just Eat also ended in the red, down 2 per cent on the day.


The European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.6 per cent, lifted by mining and retail stocks. In Germany, the Dax gained 0.3 per cent, while the Cac 40 added a modest 0.1 per cent in France. Spanish stocks put in a more convincing performance, rising almost 1.1 per cent.

Inditex, the Spanish owner of clothing chain Zara, closed 8 per cent higher after it said it had returned to quarterly profit in the three months from May to July, despite a 31 per cent fall in sales due the pandemic's impact on city centre footfalls.

The stock had gained 5 per cent on Tuesday after Swedish rival H&M reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings. H&M added 1.5 per cent on Wednesday.

Sweden's biggest bank, Svenska Handelsbanken, rose 2.4 per cent after unveiling a series of cost cuts as part of a digital revamp.

Deutsche Lufthansa initially fell after chief executive Carsten Spohr said a hoped-for recovery of air traffic had fizzled out and the airline was planning for more drastic cutbacks, but the stock eventually closed up 1.2 per cent.


US stocks lost some of their early momentum amid a slump in giant technology companies and as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's policy decision. The S&P 500 came off session highs as Adobe, Apple and Facebook all dropped at least 1.9 per cent.

FedEx's earnings beat estimates on strong ecommerce demand, sending its stock up more than 5 per cent. Electric car manufacturer Tesla was 0.7 per cent lower as of 6.15pm Irish time.

Delta Air Lines traded 3.3 per cent higher after it said it was raising $9 billion in the industry's largest ever debt deal.

– Additional reporting: Bloomberg