European shares close down as Trump rally fades
Dublin market follows other indices lower as FBD, IFG and Aryzta among few bright lights
Playing basketball at a Nike store in New York: Nike was dragged down 1.3 per cent. Photograph: Jennifer S Altman/The New York Times
European shares ended the month marginally lower after falling to a one-week low on Tuesday, as investors turned more realistic about US president Donald Trump’s policies, even though solid economic data bolstered prospects for the region’s equities.
After rising in December and November in anticipation of a big fiscal stimulus under the new US administration, the pan-European STOXX 600 index ended January down 0.4 per cent, as those expectations faded, overshadowed by Mr Trump’s controversial and protectionist policies.
US stocks were also lower in early trade on Tuesday, dragged down by technology and industrial shares, amid disappointing earnings and weak consumer confidence data. The selling comes a day after Wall Street recorded its worst day of 2017, as investors turned wary about the consequences of Mr Trump’s isolationist policies such as curbing travel to the United States.
The Dublin market followed other European indices lower on Tuesday, closing down 49.04 points to 6,392.39.
Insurer FBD was one of the few gainers, up 2 per cent to €7.92. Other movers included IFG Group, up 2.2 per cent to €1.74, and Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta, which is slowly rebounding after falling to an eight-year low last week in a drop that saw more than €1 billion wiped off its market share. The company was up 1.3 per cent to €26.29.
The FTSE 100 ended down 19.33 points to 7099.15 on Tuesday as investors shied away from riskier assets.
Royal Dutch Shell’s “B” shares fell 9.5 pence to 2,236.5 pence following news that it would sell off a package of North Sea assets for up to $3.8 billion to smaller rival Chrysaor as part of its divestment drive.
Ocado shares rose 5 pence to 249.4 pence as the online grocer reported a 21.8 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £14.5 million in the year to November 27th, marking its third consecutive year in the black, as it continued to grow its customer base.
SSE fell 3 pence to 1,489 pence after reporting that 50,000 customers fled in favour of rival energy suppliers in the three months to December 31st, amid “volatile” market conditions.
Alfa Laval, which has been under pressure from low demand in the oil, gas and marine sectors, advanced 6.9 per cent after posting a fourth-quarter order intake and core profit ahead of analyst forecasts.
Other company updates disappointed, however. UPM-Kymmene slumped 12.2 per cent, the biggest faller in the STOXX 600 after the Finnish pulp and paper maker gave a cautious outlook for this year.
Rig firm Seadrill slumped 28 per cent and headed for its biggest daily fall since early 2016 after saying that talks to restructure its $8 billion debt had taken longer than expected.
A clutch of disappointing quarterly earnings across sectors added to the dour mood.
Package delivery company UPS dropped 6.2 per cent to $109.71 after posting a quarterly loss and issuing a full-year profit forecast that missed expectations. The stock weighed the most on the S&P industrials sector. Under Armour was the biggest percentage loser on the index. The sportswear maker’s gloomy sales and forecast also dragged down bigger rival and Dow component Nike 1.3 per cent.
The healthcare sector rose 0.57 per cent after Mr Trump called for easing regulations for drugmakers, lowering taxes and prices of medicines.
– Additional reporting: agencies