European shares dip, Glencore slides to three-year low

Markets report: Smurfit down after rival DS Smith disappoints, PTSB up on S&P upgrade

Most European shares ended slightly lower on Thursday amid mixed signals on a US-China “phase-one” trade deal, while a slide in Glencore shares on a bribery investigation tied in with a strong pound to push London’s benchmark index to near two-month lows.


The Iseq index closed higher on Thursday although volumes were on the low side. Smurfit Kappa rival DS Smith had numbers out showing they are a little behind forecast. The news spooked investors with the company losing 7 per cent. Smurfit was also hit by the weak sentiment, ending down 3.2 per cent.

Permanent TSB was firmly in positive territory after S&P raised its credit rating to investment grade. It closed up 8.1 per cent. The good run enjoyed by the State's two pillar banks also continued with AIB 2.4 per cent higher and Bank of Ireland gaining 1.8 per cent.

Ryanair, which has dominated the business news headlines this week on the back of a revised summer 2020 forecast and a high-profile court case, outperformed rivals such as EasyJet. It closed up 1 per cent.


Other movers included Kerry Group, which was 1.4 per cent higher, and Kingspan, up 2.3 per cent.


London’s FTSE 100 slid on Thursday due to a 9 per cent plunge in Glencore after news of a bribery investigation and as dollar earners fell with sterling gaining on growing hopes that the upcoming election will not result in a hung parliament.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.7 per cent lower, lagging its peers in Europe and on Wall Street. The more domestically focused midcap index, the FTSE 250, added 0.2 per cent, led higher by a near 20 per cent surge in home furnishings retailer Dunelm after it raised profit expectations.

Among single stocks, Glencore tumbled to a three-year low after news that Britain's Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into the diversified miner over suspicions of bribery. The fall wiped roughly £2 billion (€2.4 billion) off Glencore's market cap, leaving it with a valuation of £30 billion at the session's end.

Among the best blue-chip performers was Burberry after a report that French group Kering had expressed interest in a potential takeover of Italy's Moncler. Burberry was up 3.1 per cent.

On the midcap index, luxury sports car maker Aston Martin, which has tanked 70 per cent since a 2018 debut, surged 18.2 per cent after a report that the owner of Formula One team Racing Point, Lawrence Stroll, was preparing a bid for a major stake.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 0.1 per cent after a stellar rally on Wednesday, and was mainly dragged by a slump in commodity-linked stocks.

German shares also underperformed peers throughout the day after data showed industrial orders fell unexpectedly in October.

Moncler jumped 6.5 per cent after Bloomberg reported that Gucci owner Kering held "exploratory" talks about a potential deal with the Italian luxury puffer coat maker. The news also boosted its local peers Salvatore Ferragamo and Tod's.

Moncler’s chief executive, however, played down the speculation, saying there was no deal in the works.

New York

US stocks dipped in early trading on Thursday as declines in defensive sectors such as consumer staples overshadowed gains in technology stocks, while the absence of new updates in US-China trade talks kept investors on the sidelines.

Wall Street’s main indices opened higher, extending gains from the previous session, but quickly lost steam in the first hour of trading.

Nike shares climbed 1 per cent after a report said Goldman Sachs upgraded the sportswear maker's stock to "buy". Kroger dropped 4 per cent as it missed analysts' estimates for quarterly sales and profit. Sage Therapeutics tumbled 57 per cent after its experimental fast-acting drug aimed at treating severe depression failed a closely-watched study. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist