European stocks end strong week with mild losses

Airlines hit as lockdown fears back on radar but Ryanair outperforms its peers

European stocks closed slightly lower on Friday, taking the shine off a 7 per cent rally this week as investors focused on soaring coronavirus cases on the continent and uncertainty surrounding the US presidential election.


The Iseq closed slightly up on Friday with banks weighing on the index. Bank of Ireland closed down 4.2 per cent while AIB plunged 6.3 per cent.

Airlines were down generally across Europe but Ryanair performed relatively well, closing up 1.3 per cent. Insurers, meanwhile, were on a high apart from FBD, which was down 7 per cent, albeit on relatively low volumes.

It was a mixed day for property stocks, with Glenveagh and Cairn Homes losing ground while Hibernia gained 2 per cent.


Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta lost 2.2 per cent after its board said it would back the re-election of Urs Jordi as chairman at its upcoming agm.

Other movers on the day included CRH, up 1.1 per cent. and Irish Continental, up 4.3 per cent.


London’s Ftse 100 fell on Friday after a four-day rally as concerns over surging coronavirus cases and Brexit-related uncertainty weighed, while investors awaited the outcome of the US presidential election race.

Having risen almost 0.5 per cent in early trading, the blue-chip Ftse 100 index was down 0.8 per cent as pharmaceutical , retailer and industrial stocks declined.

The domestically focused mid-cap Ftse 250 index edged 0.4 per cent lower, with shares in James Fisher and Sons tumbling 19.4 per cent after a disappointing trading update.

British airline Easyjet fell 2.6 per cent after it said the recently announced lockdowns in England, Germany and France had forced it to further scale back its already reduced flying schedule.

Aviva jumped 2.6 per cent to the top of the Ftse 100 index after German peer Allianz reported an unexpected rise in quarterly net profit.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.2 per cent after a five-day winning streak that marked the index’s best week since early June.

Airline Lufthansa dropped 6.9 per cent as Germany warned against unnecessary travel to Denmark, Italy and several other countries.

Insurers got a boost after Germany's Allianz reported a surprise 6 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit. A multibillion-dollar deal involving RSA, Canadian insurer Intact Financial and Danish insurer Tryg also lifted the sector.

Cartier jewellery maker Richemont jumped 8.9 per cent as it saw a marked improvement in the second quarter thanks to online retail sales and China. Swatch Group gained 0.8 per cent in sympathy.


Wall Street's main indexes took a breather on Friday after sharp gains this week as Democrat Joe Biden edged closer to victory in a nail-biting election, while the monthly jobs report underlined the economic challenge facing the US's next president.

Despite Friday’s losses, the benchmark S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq were on track for their best week since April as the prospect of a policy gridlock in Washington eased worries about tighter regulations on US companies.

Technology mega-caps including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook fell after logging strong gains this week and were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500.

Coty jumped 13.5 per cent as the cosmetics maker beat analysts' estimates for quarterly revenue, while T-Mobile gained 6.4 per cent after adding more phone subscribers than analysts had expected in the third quarter.

Electronic Arts slumped 7.8 per cent after the video game maker fell short of quarterly sales estimates.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist