European markets lose ground on mixed earnings

Shire, Barclays, Credit Agricole and Lufthansa among the losers

Greece’s banking stocks plunged for the second day in a row, holding down the main Athens index which otherwise turned the corner after the previous day’s record rout.

Nineteen of the exchange’s 25 blue-chip stocks rose on the day, and the main index, of which about 20 per cent is banks, was down only 1.2 per cent. Officials said they expected the coming days would see trading calm down.

With lenders in dire need of recapitalisation after a flight of euros from deposits for most of this year, the banking index closed down more than 29 per cent, effectively at its 30 per cent daily loss limit at which trading is halted. It was at that limit on Monday.

Elsewhere, European stocks lost momentum after a mixed bag of corporate earnings and a $30 billion bid from drugmaker Shire to buy US rival Baxalta.


DUBLIN The Iseq index finished flat, with few swings in its biggest stocks. Building materials group CRH rose 0.6 per cent to €27.54 as investors continued to back its growth prospects in the US market, while Ryanair ended its recent advance by closing down 0.7 per cent at €12.72.

Paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa finished at €27.45, down fractionally, while insulation company Kingspan gave up some of its Monday climb, declining 1.4 per cent to €23.35. Mining company Kenmare retreated 8 per cent to four cent.

AIB climbed 3.5 per cent to nine cent ahead of its interim financial results on Friday, and food group Kerry edged up 0.4 per cent to €70.72 ahead of its earnings update on Thursday.

LONDON The FTSE 100 Index lost less than 0.1 per cent at the close in London, as losses in banks offset a rebound in commodity stocks. Pharmaceutical group Shire slid 5.9 per cent after making an unsolicited bid to buy Baxalta, a company spun off from US healthcare group Baxter, for about $30 billion.

Barclays led banks lower, falling 2.1 per cent. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, the world's biggest miners, rose at least 1.5 per cent as copper prices climbed.

Smiths Group jumped 4.4 per cent after it was reported that ValueAct Capital Management bought a stake in the engineering group. Defence company Meggitt jumped 7.9 per cent after it posted a profit increase and its chief executive said it has been a takeover target for years.

Home improvement company Travis Perkins was among the FTSE 100's worst performers after it published a trading update that it said was in line with forecasts, though some analysts said the figures were disappointing.

Insurance group Standard Life saw first-half profits dented by a drop in sales of fixed-rate annuities. Its shares fell more than 3 per cent.

EUROPE European stocks snapped a five-day winning streak as declines in banks outweighed a surge in miners and Greek shares slid for a second day. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index dropped 1 per cent, while Greece’s ASE Index lost 1.2 per cent on top of the record 16 per cent plunge on Monday.

Credit Agricole dragged lenders to the worst performance on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, tumbling 10 per cent after signalling it failed to win backing from regulators for a reorganisation that may free up capital to repay investors.

Energy stocks were also weak. France's Total and Italy's Eni pulled oil-and-gas companies down.

NEW YORK Wall Street was flat despite data showing new orders for factory goods rebounded strongly in June on robust demand for transportation equipment.

Apple weighed heavily on all major US stock indices as it fell for the fifth straight day. Apple stock, down 3.1 per cent in early trading, is almost 15 per cent lower than the record high set in late April. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg / Reuters)