European shares rise but weak US job numbers temper upswing

Ryanair falls nearly 2% in Dublin on UBS downgrade

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Bloomberg

European shares rose on Friday as investors maintained strong flows into the region but top regional benchmarks came off earlier highs after disappointing US jobs growth figures in the afternoon.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.2 per cent. Germany’s Dax rose 1.25 per cent and UK’s FTSE added 0.05 per cent, having both hit fresh record highs earlier in the day.

US non-farm payrolls showed only a modest rise which could raise concerns about the health of the economy after growth slowed in the first quarter. "This is not what financial markets were expecting," said Aberdeen Asset Management senior economist Paul Diggle.



The Iseq closed marginally down at 7,044. Ryanair shares fell nearly 2 per cent after investment bank UBS downgraded the airline from a "buy" rating to "neutral". The bank said it continued to view Ryanair as the "best-of-breed short-haul operator in Europe" but that it now sees a balanced risk and reward. The airline's shares were buoyed earlier in the week by the announcement of a €600 million share buy-back programme.

Bank of Ireland and rival Permanent TSB had contrasting fortunes. Bank of Ireland was down 0.4 per cent at 23.9 cents, while Permanent TSB rose 4 per cent to €4.92.

The three property reits – Green, Hibernia and Ires – were all up between 0.2 and 0.5 per cent.

Building materials group CRH was down marginally at €32.44, which was in line with other firms in the sector.


The London market had a rocky session on Friday, pushing to record heights before trimming gains in response to a lacklustre economic update from the US.

The FTSE 100 index achieved a mid-session record of 7,598.99, before closing up 3.86 points to equal the all-time high of 7,547.63 recorded on May 26th.

The London market had been enjoying another strong session at the pound's expense after the latest general election poll from Ipsos Mori put the Conservatives just five points ahead of Labour.

In UK stocks, precious metal stocks were in the ascendancy after the price of gold rose on the back of the weaker US dollar. Randgold Resources climbed 4 per cent, or 295p to 7,655p, and Fresnillo rose 60p to 1,651p.

Old Mutual was among the biggest risers after the firm's wealth management arm snapped up the financial adviser network Caerus Capital Group.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Taylor Wimpey down 5.2p to 184.8p, Marks and Spencer down 7.6p to 367.7p, United Utilities down 20p to 1,002p and Intu Properties down 5.3p to 271.9.


Supporting Germany's Dax were gains among carmakers after better-than-expected US car sales data, as well as in chemical giant Linde after boards approved a $73 billion (€64.7bn) merger deal with US peer Praxair to create an industrial gases leader. Linde shares rose 2 per cent, but remained at a discount to the price implied by the merger terms.

Shares in Danish wind energy provider Vestas fell 1.8 per cent, while Europe's energy stock index, which includes oil and gas as well as renewable companies, was the worst-performing, down 1.3 per cent.

French pharmaceuticals firm Ipsen rose 3.7 per cent, but pared some gains after its finance chief doused investors' expectations of a potential €1.67 billion share buyback.

Cable maker Prysmian rose 3.8 per cent after it secured a spot on Goldman Sachs' "conviction" list of stocks.


US stocks eked out record highs on Friday, but gains were limited as data showed job growth slowed in May, suggesting that a bounce in the labour market was losing steam.

The financial and energy sectors were the main losers. Shares of banks, which benefit from higher interest rates, fell about 0.6 per cent. Bank of America, JPMorgan , Citigroup and Goldman Sachs fell between 0.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent.

Brent oil tumbled below $50, heading for a second straight week of losses, on worries that US president Donald Trump’s decision to abandon a climate pact could spark more crude drilling in the US, worsening a global glut.

Broadcom rose as much as 7.5 per cent to hit an all-time high of $251.96, after the chipmaker's quarterly results beat analysts' expectations. – Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times