European stock markets saw out the week on a negative note as investors grew fearful that the anticipated rebound in economic activity may not be a convincing one.
The IHS Markit flash composite purchasing managers’ index, a widely watched survey of business activity, was weaker than expected, with the disappointing data feeding into the anxious mood as coronavirus cases rose across several European countries.
The Dublin market outperformed, however, with gains for insulation group Kingspan lifting the Iseq into positive territory.
The Iseq finished the week with a 1.8 per cent climb, as key stocks made gains and the market digested first-half earnings at Kingspan. The insulation maker soared 8.9 per cent to €70.50 despite profits falling 13 per cent and revenues slipping 8 per cent, as its performance beat analysts' expectations.
Continuing its topsy-turvy week, Ryanair added 2.5 per cent to €11.44, while building materials giant CRH nudged up 0.6 per cent to €32.98.
Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta surged 7.4 per cent to 55 cent on its Dublin listing, as US-based Flowers Foods and Hostess Brands, Japan's Yamazaki Baking and Grupo Bimbo of Mexico emerged as possible buyers for the troubled company.
There were mixed fortunes for the banks, with AIB rising 1.2 per cent to €1.03 but Bank of Ireland closing 0.9 per cent lower at €1.82.
The FTSE 100 declined 0.2 per cent, although the mid-caps on the FTSE 250 index went against the negative mood across European markets, rising 0.5 per cent.
Irish food company Greencore, which has its stock market listing in London, finished 1.7 per cent lower at 123.90 pence, having earlier plunged more than 6 per cent as it announced it would temporarily suspend production at the Northampton facility affected by an outbreak of Covid-19.
As airlines enjoyed some respite after a volatile period, Aer Lingus owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) added 1.4 per cent, while Easyjet climbed 3.5 per cent. Both stocks were buoyed by the UK government decision to add Portugal to its travel corridor list.
Premier Oil plummeted 12.6 per cent after the company announced plans to raise $530 million from an equity release.
Broadcaster ITV was also among the fallers, dropping 1.9 per cent, but Rolls-Royce rose 0.9 per cent after announcing a strategic partnership with Reaction Engines to develop high-speed aircraft propulsion systems.
The benchmark Stoxx 600 index finished 0.15 per cent lower. In Germany, the Dax fell 0.5 per cent, while the Cac 40 in France was 0.3 per cent down for the session as the downbeat economic data took its toll. Spanish and Italian stocks also fell.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis rose 0.5 per cent after it won US health regulator's approval to repurpose an 11-year-old blood cancer drug against multiple sclerosis.
Dutch-based payment-processing company Adyen fell 3.7 per cent as several top executives each sold 15 per cent of their stakes in the company.
Paris-listed hotels group Accor added 4.2 per cent on further speculation of a possible merger with rival InterContinental Hotels Group, which advanced 6.2 per cent in London.
Wall Street rose in early trading as technology companies extended gains and data suggested the US economic recovery was on track. In a choppy trading session, the S&P 500 headed toward its fourth straight weekly advance, which would mark its longest winning streak this year.
Tech shares led gains in the benchmark gauge on Friday, while commodity producers retreated. Apple was the standout performer, rising 3.5 per cent by 6.30pm Irish time, while electric car manufacturer Tesla continued its recent ascent with a 4 per cent gain.
Deere and Co, the largest maker of agricultural machinery, jumped after boosting its sales outlook.
– Additional reporting: Bloomberg / Reuters.