European shares slide amid hawkish moves by central banks

Tech stocks decline on Wall Street, while Dublin market bucks trend

Global stock benchmarks and oil prices fell on Friday while safe havens such as the dollar and Treasury bonds rose as investors wrestled with a hawkish turn from major central banks in the fight against inflation and rising numbers of Omicron cases.

Dublin

The Irish index of shares closed 0.3 per cent higher at 8148, bucking the wider European trend.

But it wasn't all positive. Banking stocks declined, with AIB losing 1.3 per cent over the session to close at €2.15, and Bank of Ireland finishing the week at €4.92, a loss of more than 2.6 per cent over the day.

Building stocks were also lower, with CRH down 0.1 per cent to €44.76, and Kingspan down 2 .1 per cent to €98.16.

Despite ongoing uncertainty over the prospects for the travel sector, Ryanair shares ended the day flat at €14.16.

Smurfit Kappa gained on the day, with shares rising 1.3 per cent to €46.84.

London

The FTSE 100 erased earlier losses to close 0.1 per cent higher, as large dollar earners including Diageo, Unilever, British American Tobacco and Reckitt Benckiser benefited from the sterling falling.

Limiting gains, shares of HSBC shed 0.6 per cent after the UK's financial regulator said it had fined the bank £63.95 million (€75.2 million) for failings in its anti-money laundering processes.

Retailers gained 0.5 per cent after data showed sales rose faster than expected last month, helped by Black Friday discounts, early Christmas shopping and no lockdown restrictions.

That also lifted shares of Marks and Spencer and WH Smith, helping the FTSE 250 rise 0.6 per cent.

However, a survey showed consumer confidence was down heading into December as the emergence of Omicron and inflation worries hit spending plans.

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP fell more than 1 per cent each, tracking weakness in crude prices.

Europe

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.6 per cent, losing 0.3 per cent on the week and is now more than 3 per cent away from record highs scaled in November.

Germany’s blue-chip Dax dropped 0.7 per cent after a survey showed business morale declined for a sixth month as Europe’s largest economy feels the effects of supply bottlenecks and Covid-19 restrictions. A slide in luxury stocks saw France’s Cac 40 drop 1.1 per cent.

European countries prepared to impose further restrictions on travel and more on Friday. But travel stocks surged 2.3 per cent with airlines in the lead.

Auto stocks dropped 2.7 per cent after European industry data showed the number of new vehicles registered dropped 17.5 per cent in November on the heels of a global semiconductor shortage and supply snags.

Airbus gained 1.7 per cent after completing its third big win in 36 hours at the expense of Boeing with an Air France-KLM deal.

Italian diagnostics firm DiaSorin slumped almost 10 per cent after it forecast weaker 2022 sales as Covid-19 revenues plunged nearly 60 per cent.

New York

Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Friday as big technology-related shares tumbled, reeling from the Federal Reserve’s decision to end its pandemic-era stimulus faster.

Growth stocks including Apple, Meta Platforms, Amazon. com and Microsoft fell between 0.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes fell in early trading, with a 0.9 per cent decline in technology stocks weighing the most on the benchmark index.

Oracle fell 5.2 per cent after a report said the enterprise software maker is in talks to buy electronic medical records company Cerner in a deal that could be valued at $30 billion. Shares of Cerner surged 12.9 per cent.

FedEx rose 7.3 per cent after the delivery firm reinstated its original fiscal 2022 forecast on Thursday, even as persistent labour woes chipped away profits. Shares of peer United Parcel Service also gained 0.9 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters