European markets down as Brexit turmoil continues to take toll

Iseq bucks trend and closes marginally higher with CRH and Kingspan weaker

European shares dipped on Friday as traders held their breath over the draft Brexit deal hammered out with Britain and Italy's budget showdown with the European Commission hit risk appetite.

A gentle rebound from Thursday’s losses gradually lost steam as the day progressed ended with the major markets ending slightly lower.


The Irish market bucked the trend, ending the day marginally higher. The Iseq closed at 5,983.45, just under half a per cent higher than its open.

Traders noted it was a relatively quiet day for the Dublin market, with shares in AIB marginally higher at €3.76 and Bank of Ireland largely unchanged at €5.95 by the end of the session.


Elsewhere it was a mixed bag. Kerry Group ended the day up more than 3.5 per cent at €93.65, while Ryanair closed at €11.85, regaining some of the ground it lost in Thursday's Brexit related sell-off.

CRH was weaker, falling by more than 2 per cent to end the day at €24.15, while building material group Kingspan was also lower, falling more than 2.5 per cent to just over €41.26.


UK shares closed lower on Friday, ending a fragile comeback earlier in the session. The FTSE 100 ended down 0.3 per cent as the pound rose 0.5 per cent, recovering from its worst day since 2016 on Thursday. A stronger pound hurts blue-chip constituents, which make 70 per cent of their income overseas.

It was down 1.3 per cent on the week, capping one of the most turbulent weeks in the prolonged Brexit process that has roiled global financial markets.

Royal Bank of Scotland fell another 3.3 per cent after suffering its worst day since the Brexit vote on Thursday as shareholders priced in a higher risk of a general election. The Labour Party has pledged in its manifesto to break up the lender. Amid the uncertainty, risk-averse investors sought safety in mining stocks, which were up 1.5 per cent. Rio Tinto rose 2.9 per cent


The STOXX 600 closed down 0.12 per cent, with the technology sector lagging the market, down 0.7 per cent after worse than expected results from US chipmaker Nvidia. German semiconductor maker Siltronic slid 3 per cent, among the biggest STOXX fallers. Dutch lender ABN Amro also fell 2 per cent after its results.

ABB shares were up 1.5 per cent after sources said the Swiss industrials group was in talks with three Asian suitors for the sale of its Power Grids business. Swedish electrical components company Nibe jumped 5.7 per cent, the top STOXX gainer, after its results.

French media company Vivendi's shares topped the CAC 40, climbing 3 per cent after the company posted stronger than expected third-quarter sales, helped by growth in music streaming at its Universal Music Group (UMG). It also said it was lining up banks for a possible sale of part of the UMG division.

New York

The S&P 500 edged lower on Friday as gains in energy stocks were offset by declines in chip and retail companies, after weak results from Nvidia and Nordstrom.

Markets opened lower following weak forecasts from Nvidia and chip equipment supplier Applied Materials, which fell 17.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively.

Taking some pressure off the markets were comments from new Federal Reserve vice-chair Richard Clarida about US interest rates nearing the central bank's estimates of a neutral rate.

At 11.49 am ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.13 points, at 25,290.40, the S&P 500 was down 5.83 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 2,724.37 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 57.46 points, or 0.79 per cent, at 7,201.57.

– Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg, PA

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist