European shares slid on Wednesday as investors locked in profits following a five-month winning streak, fearing inflation and the possible impact of Covid’s Delta variant.
Building materials giant and index heavyweight CRH fell 1.51 per cent to €42.50. The Irish group confirmed earlier on Wednesday that it planned buying back $500 million worth of shares from investors.
Irish banks endured a tough day. AIB fell 2.6 per cent to €2.173 while Bank of Ireland fell 1.8 per cent to €4.517.
Ryanair reclaimed some ground lost earlier in the week, climbing 2.54 per cent to €15.96.
The Irish giant outperformed carriers including rival EasyJet and Aer Lingus owner International Consolidated Airlines Group, which were both flat on the day.
Paddy Power and Betfair owner, Flutter Entertainment, ended the day 1.55 per cent down at €152.70.
The FTSE 100 narrowly avoided breaking four straight months of gains on Wednesday as its financial houses and housebuilders led the index lower.
London’s top index ended June at 7,037 points, compared with the 7,023 where it ended May.
Builders ceded some ground following strong gains on Tuesday on news that house prices were soaring.
Grafton Group, the Irish DIY and construction supplies specialist, owner of the Woodies chain, slipped 1.97 per cent to close at 1,147 pence sterling.
Persimmon dipped 0.77 per cent to 2,980p while rival Taylor Wimpey shed 2 per cent to end the day at 158.95.
Shares in Esken, the London-listed owner of Stobart Air, which ceased trading in June, rose 4 per cent to 26p after the transport and energy group said it was just days from securing a £120 million loan to fund Southend Airport, which it owns.
Dixons Carphone jumped nearly 6 per cent to 130.2p after the business said that it had swung to a £33 million pretax profit in the year to May 1st. It lost £140 million in the previous 12 months.
Motor dealer Pendragon also revealed that it will swing from loss to profit thanks to increased demand in the last two months. But the business warned there is a shortage of new vehicles and its shares rose only 0.4 per cent.
Advertising agency M&C Saatchi saw its share price rocket more than 8 per cent to 160p after lifting its financial guidance, with pretax profit for the first half of the year expected to exceed £10 million.
Further good news came from Cake Box, up 2.8 per cent to 331p, which reported an increase of close to one eighth in its pretax profit.
Indivior jumped 6.4 per cent to 154.6p after the maker of treatments for opioid addiction raising its annual revenue and profit forecast, encouraged by strong sales of its opioid addiction treatments in the first half of the year.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.8 per cent lower at 452.84 points but rose 1.4 per cent in June, its fifth straight month of gains. The index is up 14.4 per cent this year.
Automobile stocks were the worst performers of the day, shedding 1.9 per cent. But the sector has raced past its peers this year with a more-than 25 per cent jump.
In company news, Dutch eyewear store operator Grandvision surged 14.2 per cent €28.20 as Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica said it had decided to go ahead with a planned takeover of the company. EssilorLuxottica's shares were flat at €155.64 .
The S&P 500 hovered near a record high on Wednesday as US private payrolls increased in June even as hiring slowed, with Wall Street’s major averages set to end their fifth straight quarter of gains.
The S&P growth index, which houses mega-cap names Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, has jumped nearly 11.9 per cent this quarter, outperforming its value peer and narrowing the gap for the year-to-date performance.
Micron Technology rose 1.2 per cent as BMO upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "market perform" on continued supply-demand imbalance in 2022. The chipmaker was expected to post quarterly results after markets closed. – Additional reporting: Reuters