European investors fear second wave but Irish stocks outperform

Iseq closed up 1.13%, FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% while pan-European Stoxx 600 index slipped

European stocks recorded their worst weekly decline since mid-June on Friday, although the Iseq outperformed, as investors feared that a second wave of coronavirus infections will hamper economic recovery.


The Iseq All-Share index closed up 1.13 per cent, outperforming many European peers on what was a relatively quiet day in terms of newsflow.

Banks stood out on the day with one underperformer and one outperformer. AIB fell 2.92 per cent on the day to €0.86 while Bank of Ireland gained 1.6 per cent to close at €1.58.

Flutter Entertainment gained 6.4 per cent to close at €137.95 after UK rival William Hill received a takeover proposal from buyout firm Apollo and US casino operator Caesars Entertainment.


Airlines had a tough day although that wasn't necessarily reflected in Ryanair's closing price. The budget airline finished the day 0.13 per cent lower at €11.34, representing a 5 per cent boost from its low on the day.

Food names were relatively stable with Glanbia closing up 1.38 per cent at €8.83 and Kerry Group dipping 0.09 per cent to €109.80


A near 44 per cent surge in bookmaker William Hill on takeover offers lifted consumer stocks on Friday, helping UK shares outperform European peers and end a tumultuous week on a high note.

William Hill's peers GVC and 888 Holdings rose between 6.8 per cent and 16.7 per cent. The moves helped London's mid-caps index end up 1.4 per cent in its best day in three weeks.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 per cent but losses for miners and oil stocks, which tracked commodity prices lower, and banks, which extended losses to a fourth straight session, kept gains in check.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index slipped 0.1 per cent, failing to match Wall Street gains.

The index shed 3.6 per cent in a week dominated by concerns about new coronavirus restrictions in Europe, a faltering stock rally in Wall Street's technology giants and worrying economic data from both sides of the Atlantic.

European banks sank to a fresh record low as investors shunned the sector hit by a cocktail of lower global borrowing costs, rising bad loans due to the economic downturn and dirty money scandal that made it the worst performer this week.

Worries about new travel restrictions weighed on airlines, with Aer Lingus-owner IAG, Lufthansa and Air France KLM down between 0.6 per cent and 3.3 per cent. Automakers fell 1.4 per cent after an industry body said British car production fell by an annual 45 per cent in August, as the sector continues to suffer due to the fallout from the virus outbreak.

Paris Match publisher Lagardere surged 32.3 per cent after billionaire Bernard Arnault revealed he had built up a direct stake in the firm, which is under siege from several other investors.

Swedish home appliance maker Electrolux rose 2.9 per cent after saying it would propose reinstating dividends after a recovery in earnings and cash flows during the third quarter.

New York

Shares of tech mega-caps including Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon. com, Apple and Netflix, which are perceived as relatively safe assets at a time of economic uncertainty, climbed between 0.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent.

Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival jumped more than 5 per cent after a report that Barclays upgraded their stock to "overweight".

Costco Wholesale fell 2.6 per cent as the warehouse chain recorded high coronavirus-related costs for the second straight quarter.

Boeing gained 3.6 per cent after Europe's chief aviation safety regulator said the planemaker's grounded 737 Max could receive regulatory approval to resume flying in November and enter service by the end of the year.

Novavax jumped 11.3 per cent after the drugmaker launched a late-stage trial of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine in the UK.

– Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business