European stocks fall but Iseq bucks trend
Mining, drinks and tech companies among the climbers
Smurfit Kappa added almost 2.2 per cent to finish at €34.92. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg
European stocks mostly fell on Wednesday, failing to join a recovery in global equities following a sell-off on doubts over US stimulus, with blue-chip shares weighing the most. The Dublin market bucked the trend.
US stocks rose, clawing back most of the decline triggered by US president Donald Trump’s suspension of stimulus talks, after he backed a piecemeal approach to aid, and investors took a longer-term view on a spending programme.
Some investors believe that a November election victory for Democrat candidate Joe Biden, who is faring well in opinion polls, would bring an increase of federal spending to boost the US economy.
The Iseq index climbed 1.4 per cent, outperforming the major European indices, as its biggest stocks posted gains. Building materials group CRH, the largest stock on the Dublin market, added 3.2 per cent, closing at €33.30.
Ryanair also had a good session, advancing 2.7 per cent, while paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa added almost 2.2 per cent to finish at €34.92. Dalata Hotel Group closed up 0.8 per cent at 2.47.
Glanbia was among the few fallers, with the food group declining 1.9 per cent to €8.57 on modest trading volumes. AIB dropped 0.8 per cent to 94 cent, while Bank of Ireland nudged up just 0.1 per cent to just below €1.76.
The Ftse 100 edged down less than 0.1 per cent while the mid-cap Ftse 250 was flat.
Miners rose after analysts at JP Morgan took an “extreme overweight” position, citing a boost to the sector from China’s recovery and potential US stimulus. BHP, Anglo American and Rio Tinto gained more than 2 per cent.
The UK’s biggest supermarket chain Tesco slipped 0.7 per cent, giving back gains after it reported a jump in sales, while Diageo added almost 0.7 per cent after analysts at Jefferies upgraded the stock from “underperform” to “buy”.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index edged 0.1 per cent lower to break a four-session winning run. Blue-chip stocks on the Stoxx 50 fell 0.3 per cent. In Germany, the Dax added 0.2 per cent, while the French Cac 40 slipped 0.3 per cent.
The healthcare sector was the biggest drag, with telecom, media and real estate stocks also falling, but positive earnings reports and upbeat brokerage recommendations helped limit the losses.
German logistics group Deutsche Post jumped 3.9 per cent as it said it expected “exceptionally strong” business up to Christmas as ecommerce kept booming during the pandemic.
Dialog Semiconductor rose 3.2 per cent after it forecast better-than-expected revenue in its third quarter.
Drinks companies AB InBev, Heineken and Pernod Ricard rose 1.3-3.5 per cent after analysts Jefferies upgraded the stocks to “buy”.
Nexi slid 5.7 per cent after top shareholder Mercury UK Holdco said it was selling 13.4 per cent of its stake in the Italian payments group, a day after Nexi announced a merger with rival SIA.
The S&P 500 rose more than 1 per cent after a barrage of overnight tweets from US president Donald Trump supporting $1,200 stimulus checks, $25 billion to hard-hit airlines and $135 billion for small businesses. The benchmark slumped 1.4 per cent in the previous day’s session when Trump abruptly called off aid talks with Democrats.
Tech stocks mostly rose, despite a Washington proposal for stricter antitrust rules to curb the power of Apple, Google’s parent Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon. The four tech giants account for more than 15 per cent of the S&P 500. Eli Lilly gained after advances on its Covid-19 antibody drug.