European shares hit one-month high despite longer term mood of caution

Market report: In Dublin Aryzta and Kerry Group lead market into negative territory

European shares edged higher on Friday after hitting one-month highs as investors’ appetite for buying assets considered risky remained firm, despite a longer-term mood of caution over trade and the corporate earnings season.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.1 per cent on its fourth straight day in the black - its longest winning streak since November.


The Dublin market closed down nearly 1 per cent lower on Friday, with Aryzta and Kerry leading the market into negative territory.

Aryzta was down 7 per cent to €1.08 with shares in the troubled Swiss-Irish food group not helped by public comments from chairman Gary McCann about how big the challenge is to turn things around at the company. Kerry Group meanwhile was down 2.5 per cent to €91.20.


Bank of Ireland was up 3 per cent to €5.19 despite the revelation that fraud fears had forced it to impose restrictions on customers' debt cards. Elsewhere in the banking sector, AIB advanced 1.5 per cent to €3.74 while Permanent TSB was flat at €1.59.

Other movers included Total Produce, up 1 per cent to €1.61.


The FTSE 100 shed 24.69 points, down almost 0.4 per cent, to close at 6,918.18, having erased earlier gains.

Shares in Flybe nosedived after Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group swooped on the regional airline in a £2.2 million deal. The companies, in conjunction with Cyrus Capital Partners, have agreed an offer of just 1p per share for Flybe, which put itself up for sale in November. The firm's stock tanked 77.1 per cent, or 12.63p, to 3.75p at the close.

Debenhams stock tumbled 18.9 per cent to 3.9p following the removal of the retailer's chairman and chief executive by Mike Ashley a day earlier. The retail tycoon, who owns just under 30 per cent of the chain through Sports Direct, teamed up with fellow shareholder Landmark to eject Ian Cheshire and Sergio Bucher from the board.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Taylor Wimpey up 7.15p at 156.05p, Persimmon up 92p at 2,203p, Barratt Developments up 14.2p at 503.4p and IAG up 15.2p at 610p.

Grafton closed up over 4 per cent after the Dublin-headquartered building materials company announced revenues that were up 8.7 per cent last year.


The Stoxx Europe 600 eventually finished up, although markets in Frankfurt and Paris joined London in closing lower. Germany’s Dax was down 0.3 per cent while France’s Cac 40 dropped 0.5 per cent.

Automaker and parts suppliers sensitive to the US-China trade dispute led the falls, down 1 per cent. Valeo dropped 6.4 per cent and was the biggest faller on the Cac 40, while Continental and Volkswagen were among the biggest Dax decliners.

French utilities took a hit after analysts at Societe Generale downgraded ratings on Suez and Veolia Environnement.


A five-day rally in US stocks ran out of steam as investors booked profits and reset their positions ahead of the earning season set to begin next week. The technology and trade-sensitive stocks, which led the rally, took a beating and dragged the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lower.

Microsoft fell 1.1 per cent and Amazon dropped 0.3 per cent. General Motors shares surged 8.3 per cent after the carmaker said it expects 2018 earnings per share to exceed its prior estimates and forecast upbeat profit for 2019. Shares of Ford also rose 1.6 per cent.

Activision Blizzard fell 11.8 per cent, leading the decliners on the S&P 500, after the video game publisher transferred full publishing rights for its Destiny game franchise to video game developer Bungie.

Netflix was up 3.3 per cent, with Credit Suisse raising its estimates of new quarterly subscribers ahead of its earnings next week. – Additional reporting: Reuters / Bloomberg.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist