European shares shed early gains as US jobs numbers disappoint

Irish heavyweights lose ground on quiet day

European shares shed early gains throughout Friday as the US published disappointing jobs news and mining stocks lost ground.


The Irish market ended weaker as index heavyweights lost ground on what dealers said was a quiet day.

Building materials giant CRH shed 1.4 per cent to close at €42.82 on a day when rivals' shares suffered similarly.

Paddy Power and Beftair owner, global betting business Flutter Entertainment closed 1.84 per cent down at €117.40.


“They would be two big components of the index,” one dealer noted.

Food and ingredients specialist Kerry Group was 1.14 per cent down at €108.20. Packaging business Smurfit Kappa was 1.01 per cent off at €45.12.

AIB inched 0.25 per cent up to €1.998, while peer Bank of Ireland dropped 3.33 per cent to €4.791.

Landlord Irish Residential Properties Real Estate Investment Trust gained 1.29 per cent to €1.572. Ryanair was flat at €15.06.

Dealers said there were “no moves of any significance” on the Irish market.


Wickes Group climbed 11.26 per cent to 239.2 pence sterling after it raised full-year profit outlook, saying it had continued to trade well in the fourth quarter so far.

Irish rival Grafton Group, owners of Woodies DIY, edged 0.5 per cent up to 1,200p.

Oil major BP added 1.26 per cent to 340.85p as crude prices rose more than 3 per cent on world markets. Royal Dutch Shell added 1.11 per cent to 1,651.4p.

Miners as a whole slipped 2.6 per cent, but marked weekly gains of more than 1 per cent as commodity prices bounced back from sharp losses seen last week after the new virus strain was detected.

Insurer Prudential climbed 0.8 per cent to 1,281p, while Legal & General Group climbed at a similar rate to close at 285.9p after German peer Allianz raised its targets for shareholder returns for 2022-24.

The blue chip FTSE 100 posted a 1 per cent weekly gain, recovering some of last week’s losses aided by a 6 per cent jump this week in energy stocks.

The domestically-focused mid-cap index fell 0.3 per cent, dragged down by weakness in communication services and healthcare stocks.


Valneva shares fell 14.5 per cent to €23.62 after a British study of the French biotech group's Covid vaccine claimed it offered no immunity boost to those previously inoculated with Pfizer's jab.

However, the company said that no conclusions should be drawn from the study as participants in the trial had received booster doses after shorter intervals than usual.

German insurer Allianz gained 0.5 per cent to €198.38 after raising target for shareholder returns.

Italian cement maker and CRH rival Buzzi Unicem retreated 1.15 per cent to €18.51.

Dassault Aviation soared to the top of the Stoxx 600 after gaining 6.5 per cent to €89.60 on news that France sealed a deal for 80 Rafale warplanes with the United Arab Emirates – the largest order ever for the warplane.

Gaming company Evolution also rose 6.5 per cent to 935 Swedish kroner on a share buyback.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) plunged 24 per cent to 171.5 kroner after US private equity firm Advent International and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund said they were withdrawing their bid for the drugmaker.


Federal figures showed the US created 210,000 non-farm jobs last month, behind the 550,000 that analysts predicted. However, with six million jobs created this year economists say employment is close to maximum.

US stocks lost ground in morning trade on Friday, with technology stocks dragging the main indexes lower as fears of inflation and Covid’s Omicron variant fuelled volatile trading.

The S&P 500 technology index tumbled 1.5 per cent, leading losses among the 11 major sectors. Shares in Tesla, Nvidia, Microsoft and Apple fell between 0.7 per cent and 3.5 per cent, dragging down the Nasdaq. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas