European shares fall slightly on weaker US jobs growth

Markets close: Ryanair surge nudges Iseq upwards

European shares fell modestly on Friday on weaker-than-expected US jobs growth, but travel and leisure stocks gained after Ryanair raised its profit forecast and Evolution Gaming Group announced an online US casino deal.


The Iseq rose 0.3 per cent to round out the week, with the index buoyed by a surge for Ryanair. The airline closed up 5.6 per cent at €16.07, having surged as high as €16.92 earlier in the session, after it increased its guidance on its full-year profit based on bookings over the Christmas and the new year period.

Cairn Homes, which said it had sold more than 220 dwellings in Dublin to an investment firm-backed landlord for €78 million, finished up 0.6 per cent at €1.30.

Elsewhere, the Irish banks joined in a weak day for financial stocks across Europe, with Bank of Ireland down 3.9 per cent at €4.78 and AIB losing 2 per cent to close at €3.10.


Dalata Hotel Group was also among the fallers, down 1.2 per cent at €5.14, while market heavyweight CRH finished 1.1 per cent lower at €35.02. Packaging group Smurfit Kappa eased 1.9 per cent to close at €33.08.


The FTSE 100 shed early gains, ending 0.1 per cent lower as a slide in banks overshadowed a rise in airlines amid fears of a rate cut. Both the benchmarks missed out on a Wall Street frenzy that took all three US indexes to all-time highs despite weak jobs data for December.

Banking stocks fell, led by a 2.5 per cent drop in Lloyds, after Bank of England policymaker Silvana Tenreyro joined the central bank's head Mark Carney in leaning towards lowering interest rates if growth does not improve.

Yet a near 5 per cent gain for British Airways owner IAG and a 4.2 per cent rise in EasyJet limited losses, while Ryanair's London-listed shares jumped 6 per cent to their highest since June 2018.

Retailer B&M fell 6 per cent on slowing sales growth in the Christmas quarter and Watches of Switzerland lost 4 per cent following a discounted share sale.

Superdry slipped 7 per cent to its lowest in over a year as sales during the peak holiday period fell short of its expectations, while Joules Group tanked 21 per cent after a profit warning due to a shortage of merchandise.

Aston Martin outshone the index, leaping 15.3 per cent on its best day since early December after a report that China's Geely was in talks about taking a stake.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped in the final minutes of trading after spending most of the session in positive territory. The German Dax and the French Cac 40 were both 0.1 per cent lower.

Sweden's Evolution Gaming Group jumped 6 per cent after it announced an agreement with US-based Parx Casino to deliver online services. The travel and leisure sub-sector closed at its highest in more than 1½ years.

Utilities were the best performing European sub-sector on the day, helped by shares of Germany's RWE which hit a more than five-year high. The company could expect around €2 billion in compensation over government orders to turn off lignite power stations, government and industry sources said.


Wall Street hovered near all-time highs as easing Middle East tensions and technology stocks offset concerns about slower-than-expected US jobs growth in December.

Bank stocks were down 0.7 per cent, causing Wall Street to pare some gains in late morning trading.

Apple rose 0.5 per cent after Credit Suisse became the latest brokerage to raise its price target on the stock, citing a better-than-feared iPhone 11 cycle so far.

Boeing fell 1.5 per cent after the company released hundreds of internal messages that contained harshly critical comments on 737 Max's development. – Additional reporting: Reuters.