European shares rise slightly but banks edge down
Cairn plunges as founders raise €22.78m by selling a series of shares in the company
Ryanair dropped 1.4 per cent to €11.07 after analysts at Goodbody said the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max 8s could cost it €10 million this year.
European shares rose slightly on Wednesday as gains across most sectors offset losses among lenders, which were hit by a lack of detail in European Central Bank (ECB) comments after the bank left borrowing costs unchanged.
The ECB’s decision on rates matched investors’ expectations but president Mario Draghi’s comments shed very little light on reported plans for a tiered deposit rate and a new round of ultra-cheap bank loans.
The Iseq index had a subdued day in line with European markets as several of its key stocks suffered falls. Ryanair dropped 1.4 per cent to €11.07 after analysts at Goodbody said the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max 8s could cost it €10 million this year. Goodbody downgraded its view of the airline’s stock from “buy” to “hold”.
Building materials group CRH finished 0.5 per cent lower at €28.60, while Bank of Ireland was 2.2 per cent weaker at €5.49.
The FTSE 100 edged 0.1 per cent lower as investors remained cautious in light of a new US-EU trade tussle and a Brexit summit, while a US indictment wiped out two-thirds of drugmaker Indivior’s value and dragged down its former parent Reckitt Benckiser.
The US department of justice accused Indivior of illegally boosting prescriptions for the film version of its blockbuster opioid addiction treatment Suboxone. Reckitt slumped 6.5 per cent on the main index and Indivior crashed 72 per cent on the mid-caps index.
Security company G4S jumped 20 per cent on its best day in nearly two decades after Canada’s Garda World Security confirmed it was considering a cash offer for the company.
Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, added 3.6 per cent after a better-than-expected rise in profit, while mid-cap Dunelm rose 3 per cent as higher quarterly comparable sales helped the homewares retailer forecast a full-year profit above analysts’ estimates.
Asos jumped 8 per cent as investors were comforted by the online fashion retailer’s affirmation of annual targets despite a plunge in half-year earnings.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.3 per cent, with positive sentiment capped by threats made by the US to slap tariffs on EU-made goods.
Banks, which were broadly boosted some weeks ago on reports of a planned ECB tiered deposit rate, dropped 0.3 per cent as investors failed to get details on this from Draghi.
Commerzbank slid 2.3 per cent, as German chancellor Angela Merkel said the result of its merger talks with Deutsche Bank was open and after a report that Deutsche Bank’s chief executive told his Commerzbank counterpart that he wants more time to consider a merger.
Norsk Hydro rose 1.3 per cent after JP Morgan raised its price target on the Oslo-listed aluminium giant, which announced a 150 million Norwegian crown ($17.64 million) facility upgrade.
Novartis was knocked 3 per cent lower on the back of price target cuts by UBS, Independent Research and Barclays. Morgan Stanley also downgraded the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, putting it at “underweight” and cutting its price target.
Technology stocks lifted the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq higher in early trading but a fall in Boeing shares dragged the Dow lower ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes from its latest policy meeting.
A US labor department report showed consumer prices increased by the most in 14 months in March, although underlying inflation remained benign.
Levi Strauss jumped 5.1 per cent after the jeans maker posted a 7 per cent rise in quarterly revenue after returning to public markets last month.
Boeing shares continued to weigh, trading 1.4 per cent lower. – Additional reporting: Reuters / Bloomberg.