European shares slump after Fed outlook, as Paddy Power Betfair slips

Bookie was the worst blue-chip performer in London as it skidded 5.4% on sports results

European shares had their worst session in more than six weeks on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve dampened rate cut bets, while gains by Volkswagen and Bayer helped cap losses.


With the Dublin market closed on Wednesday, investors were busy playing catch-up on Thursday as a number of heavyweights announced results.

Paddy Power Betfair was up by a quarter of a per cent in Dublin to €74.86 compared with Tuesday after announcing first-quarter results but was the worst blue-chip performer in London as it skidded 5.4 per cent on unfavourable sports results in Britain and Ireland and pointed to a 43 per cent drop in fixed-odds betting terminal revenues.

Kerry Group, which reported a "solid" start to the year with a 10.3 per cent rise in revenues, surpassed the €100 target after its share price rose 1.2 per cent to €101.


Dalata, which held its agm in Dublin at which it revealed more about its future plans, closed up 2.21 per cent to €6.02 after revealing positive revenue per available room (revpar) figures.

CRH continued its recent strong run, rising 1.4 per cent to €30.34.

Home builders have been under pressure for the past few days, but both Cairn and Glenveagh rebounded on Thursday, gaining 2.49 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.


The Ftse 100 ended lower for the third straight session as copper miners fell and exporter stocks struggled despite weakness in sterling, while Metro Bank tanked after an accounting error caused quarterly profit to halve. The Ftse 100 was still held to a one-month low, falling 0.5 per cent. The Ftse 250 was 0.6 per cent lower.

Shell, the biggest Ftse 100 company by market value, rose nearly 2 per cent after beating quarterly profit expectations. Medical products maker Smith & Nephew also outperformed the main bourse with a 3 per cent gain, as it forecast annual revenue growth at the top half of its prior guidance range.

Retailers dived in seemingly no-news moves. M&S, Sainsbury's and Burberry all tumbled more than 2 per cent. On the mid-cap index, Metro Bank slumped 16 per cent to an all-time low after saying the fallout from an accounting error it disclosed in January hit quarterly profit, capital buffers and major business customer deposits.

Thomas Cook slumped 15 per cent after a trader cast doubt on the tour operator's plans to sell its airline business.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.7 per cent, with most major country indices well in the red on returning from the May Day holiday. Germany's Dax, which outperformed through most of the day, closed flat as software firm SAP weighed. Madrid's Ibex fell 1.6 per cent.

SAP fell 1.3 per cent after security researchers said up to 50,000 companies running its software were at greater risk of being hacked.

Consumer stocks slipped on online-only fashion retailer Zalando's 3.7 per cent fall after it announced plans to charge delivery fees for small orders in more markets.

Helping temper those losses, German drugmaker Bayer was up 3.6 per cent after the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled that glyphosate, the key ingredient in its Roundup weed killer, is not a carcinogen.

Carmaker Volkswagen jumped 3.7 per cent as it shrugged off a €1 billion euro legal charge and met first-quarter operating profit forecasts.


US stocks headed lower in early trading on Thursday as a slide in energy stocks added to gloom after the Federal Reserve quashed hopes of interest rate cuts this year.

Among gainers, Qualcomm rose 0.9 per cent after analysts said the chipmaker was well-positioned in the 5G networks space even as it forecast disappointing current-quarter sales.

Under Armour gained 4.4 per cent after the sportswear maker posted strong quarterly earnings and raised its full-year profit forecast.

Among decliners, Dow, the commodity chemicals division spun off from DowDuPont, slipped 4.7 per cent after reporting a 24 per cent fall in core earnings. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist