European shares dip from four-month peak
Ryanair drops a further 0.5% in Dublin as US Dow passes 23,000 mark for first time
New York Stock Exchange: the Dow Jones index hit 23,000 points for the first time on Tuesday. Photograph: Bryan R Smith/AFP/Getty Images
European shares dipped slightly on Tuesday, falling from a four-month peak as weakness among commodities stocks outweighed gains spurred by results from companies including food group Danone and education publisher Pearson.
On Wall Street, the Dow breached the 23,000 mark for the first time, led by gains for health insurance group UnitedHealth, although the broader US market was weighed down by losses in industrial, financial and technology stocks.
The Iseq index closed little changed, as risers and fallers offset each other. Ryanair compounded Monday’s 1.9 per cent drop with a further 0.5 per cent decline to €16.51, while building materials group CRH also lost about 0.5 per cent, closing at €30.57.
Insurance company FBD added 1 per cent to €8, recovering from its decline in Monday’s session where former Hurricane Ophelia was the focus. Analysts believe the insurer’s exposure to the storm may be cushioned by its new reinsurance deal.
Irish Residential Properties (Ires) Reit fell 5.62 per cent to €1.51, erasing previous gains, while Independent News & Media touched 11 cent with a 4.8 per cent gain. Insulation maker Kingspan fell 2.25 per cent to €35.68 on the back of a downgrade from broker UBS while paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa closed down 1 per cent at €24.23, but food group Kerry added 0.5 per cent to €82.62.
British shares edged fractionally lower on Tuesday, with a flurry of trading updates driving sharp swings in individual stocks, including tourist attractions operator Merlin Entertainments, which plummeted after disappointing summer sales.
The FTSE ended the day 0.1 per cent lower, weighed down by a pullback in mining stocks as metals slipped from three-year peaks hit on Monday.
The index was driven higher earlier, when the pound slipped after Bank of England policymakers, speaking before a parliamentary committee, were interpreted by the market as broadly dovish and indicating internal debate over a November rate increase.
Shares in Merlin plunged as much as 21 per cent before ending the day down 15.9 per cent, its biggest fall ever, after the Madame Tussauds and Legoland operator blamed a series of attacks in Britain and unfavourable weather for a dip in trading in its key summer period.
Educational publisher Pearson was the top performer, up 7.3 per cent after what has been a challenging 2017, when it said it expected full-year operating profit to come in at the top half of its forecast range.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended the session 0.3 per cent lower, weighed down by a dip in basic resources and energy shares. The Cac 40 in France was marginally lower and Germany’s Dax dropped by 0.1 per cent.
French food group Danone’s shares reached a record high, after sales of baby milk formula in China rose strongly and helped it beat forecasts with a total 4.7 per cent rise in third-quarter sales.
Credit Suisse was in the spotlight with its shares rising 1.2 per cent on reports that activist investor RBR Capital has launched a campaign to break up the Swiss investment bank after building up a small stake in it.
Paris-listed Airbus rose 4.8 per cent after agreeing to buy a majority stake in Bombardier’s C-Series jetliner programme. The deal would come at no cost for Airbus.
Wall Street stocks turned mixed on Tuesday, with traders unimpressed by some bank earnings reports. Shares of UnitedHealth, the largest US health insurer, touched a record high after the company reported a stronger-than-expected profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast. That, along with a 2.4 per cent rise in Johnson & Johnson, led a 0.92 per cent gain in the S&P healthcare sector.
Goldman Sachs dipped 1 per cent despite reporting a smaller-than-expected trading revenue fall, while Morgan Stanley rose 1.4 per cent as wealth management business insulated the bank from weakness in trading revenue.
Netflix slipped 1.15 per cent after touching a record high as more subscribers signed up for its popular original content in the latest quarter.
– (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)