European shares rise as worries lessen over US-China trade war
Iseq bucks trend with small drop while FTSE 100 inches higher as investors stay cautious
Food group Glanbia rose 1 per cent to €16.00 and Kerry was up 0.8 per cent to €102.80
European shares rose on Wednesday from the previous session’s more than one-month closing low on positive sentiment underpinned by easing fears over the path ahead for US-China trade ties and strong results from some German firms.
Resolute earnings from Siemens and Wirecard aided sentiment, while the White House said China has indicated it wants to strike a trade deal.
The Iseq index edged down 0.4 per cent, going against the mildly positive trend on the major European indices.
Ryanair fell 2.2 per cent to €11.02, after analysts at Davy Research said low-cost airlines would be cautious on their second-half outlooks due to uncertainty over Brexit, higher fuel prices and other issues. Davy has lowered its estimates for Ryanair’s net profit for this year and next.
Cement-maker CRH lost 0.6 per cent to €29.26, while insulation company Kingspan fell 1.5 per cent to €45.10. Packaging group Smurfit Kappa was another faller, ending down 0.75 per cent at €26.56, while Paddy Power Betfair slipped 1 per cent to €71.88.
The banks also lost ground, but drinks group C&C had a better day, posting a 4 per cent gain to €3.52, while food group Glanbia rose 1 per cent to €16.00 and Kerry was up 0.8 per cent to €102.80.
Britain’s FTSE 100 ended higher as investors welcomed indications that Washington and Beijing could be closer to a trade deal, though the mood remained wary and underwhelming earnings limited gains. The blue-chip index inched 0.2 per cent higher.
ITV fell 6 per cent – its worst tumble for more than a year – after it warned that it expects half-year advertising revenues to drop 6 per cent. Brexit uncertainty hit first-quarter trading at the broadcaster, which is trying to shift the balance of its revenues away from advertising to its production unit.
Imperial Brands affirmed its full-year forecast but the tobacco company’s shares fell 6.3 per cent to a more than five-year low after weaker-than-expected sales of e-cigarettes.
EasyJet gave up 3 per cent and mid-cap peer Wizz Air fell 2.6 per cent after Davy Research’s note on the outlook for low-cost carriers.
Travis Perkins, Britain’s largest distributor of building materials, gained 3.3 per cent on the mid-cap index on higher quarterly underlying sales.
Pub group Wetherspoon tumbled 4.4 per cent on its worst day in six months after its trading update triggered concerns over mounting costs and margin pressure.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.2 per cent. Germany’s trade-sensitive Dax gained 0.7 per cent, while French stocks tacked on 0.4 per cent.
Siemens posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and said it would spin off its faltering gas-turbines business. Investors responded by sending the German firm’s shares 4.6 per cent higher.
Payments firm Wirecard raised its 2019 outlook, as it sought to shake off allegations of fraud and false accounting to post a 40.7 per cent rise in core profits in the first quarter. Wirecard shares climbed 4.9 per cent.
Deutsche Lufthansa traded ex-dividend, down 4.4 per cent. Additionally, analysts at Berenberg cut its target price on the airline.
Wall Street flitted between gains and losses, as investors digested a mixed flow of news on trade, ahead of a critical round of talks between the US and China.
China’s top trade negotiator, vice premier Liu He, is due to visit Washington on Thursday and Friday in a last-ditch effort to strike a deal, even as the US announced it plans to raise tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
A bright spot in markets was a 1 per cent gain in shares of iPhone maker Apple Inc and Walt Disney, which added 1.6 per cent in early trading and is due to report results after the closing bell.
– Additional reporting: Reuters