European shares rise despite US trade concerns

Iseq flat on the day, with low volume, while early feelgood factor wears off in London

European shares rose on Friday, with surges for German multinational Thyssenkrupp and robust defensive stocks helping equities on the continent avert the losses seen among their US peers, which slid on persisting worries about US-China trade.


Dublin’s main market was flat on the day, with low volume recorded on stocks across the index.

Insurer FBD issued a trading update on Friday morning flagging a positive performance in the year to date, although it said Brexit remained a "major source of uncertainty". Shares in the only Irish-listed insurer rose 2.27 per cent to €9.02.

Ryanair dipped 0.42 per cent to €10.73 on the day despite no stock-specific news. Rival IAG reported a poor set of earnings, although they beat expectations and that stock closed up more than 2 per cent on the day.


Food names stood out for their performance, with Kerry Group leading the charge. The company rose 0.89 per cent to €102. Glanbia and Origin Enterprises also climbed, increasing 0.69 per cent to €16 and 0.36 per cent to €5.50 respectively.

Banks aside, Smurfit Kappa was one of the more actively traded stocks on the last day of the trading week. It dipped 0.77 per cent to €25.90 after more than 1.3 million shares were traded.


The FTSE 100 dropped into the red in afternoon trading after a feelgood start to trading across the European markets quickly wore off.

In company news, shares jumped at Aer Lingus owner IAG, despite revealing its profits were hit by rocketing fuel costs and foreign exchange headwinds in the first quarter.

Hotel company Millennium & Copthorne saw shares rise despite pressure on profits in the first quarter, as it was affected by a programme of refurbishments. Pretax profit slumped 58 per cent to £11 million in the three months to March 31st.

Elsewhere, shares fell in B&Q owner Kingfisher ahead of its first-quarter results announcement on Wednesday. The retail group is expected to reveal a bounce-back in sales at the DIY chain, with analysts at Jefferies pencilling in a 2.6 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the period.


The Stoxx 600 index gained 0.3 per cent, lifting off an around 1½-month closing low clocked on Thursday. The pan-European index still recorded its biggest weekly decline this year, down 3.4 per cent, bruised by trade worries.

Germany's DAX rose with Thyssenkrupp lifted 28.2 per cent by short-covering on news it will list its successful elevators business and embark on a fresh restructuring. The level of short interest on Thursday was 38.3 million shares, the largest amount in more than four years, according to data from FIS Astec Analytics.

French and Italian stocks each tacked on 0.3 per cent. Chemicals stocks, meanwhile, gained 1.3 per cent, with Linde leading the sector index with a 4.1 per cent rise. The company's chief financial officer said it would hit the upper end of its 2019 earnings per share guidance, if the current business environment holds up.

LafargeHolcim gained 2.8 per cent as the world's top cement maker agreed to sell its Philippines operations. Credit Suisse also raised its price target on the stock.


Boeing, the single largest US exporter to China, declined 1.4 per cent, while Caterpillar dropped 2.2 per cent on the back of ongoing trade talks.

Elsewhere, Uber shares opened 6.7 per cent below their initial public offering price of $45 in their long-awaited market debut. Rival Lyft dropped 9 per cent to a record low.

Technology stocks fell 1.82 per cent, and weighed the most on the S&P, dragged down by shares of iPhone maker Apple and a plunge in Symantec. The antivirus software maker tumbled 15.7 per cent after issuing a profit warning and unexpectedly announcing that its chief executive officer would step down.

Additional reporting: Reuters/PA

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business