European stocks fall from record highs as sentiment wanes

Aer Lingus owner IAG leads travel sector lower in Europe, while Amazon falls in US

European stocks fell from record highs on Friday as concerns about the fast-spreading Delta variant and regulatory actions in China outweighed optimism around the quarterly earnings season and an economic recovery.

Travel and leisure stocks and miners were the stocks most under pressure in Europe, while Amazon led technology stocks lower on Wall Street.


The Iseq finished the week with a 0.7 per cent decline as Ryanair was pulled into the red after a hesitant update from IAG, sparking drops for other airlines. Ryanair held up better than most, however, closing down 0.8 per cent at €16.58.

Food group Kerry was one of the key fallers, slipping 3.85 per cent to €125 despite signalling in its first-half results announcement that it expected "strong volume growth" in the second half of the year.


There were no major moves in percentage terms for cement maker CRH and financial stocks AIB and Bank of Ireland. Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment eased 1.5 per cent to €143.90, while food company Glanbia closed the week with a rise of 0.8 per cent to €14.49.


The Ftse 100 also ended 0.7 per cent lower as it was weighed down by falls for mining stocks amid concerns that rising coronavirus infections globally could derail economic growth.

Aer Lingus and British Airways owner IAG slumped 7.5 per cent and was the second-biggest drag on the blue-chip index after saying it was cautious on recovery prospects. IAG declined to give a profit forecast for the year due to Covid-19 uncertainty, but said its summer capacity would rise to 45 per cent from 22 per cent in the previous quarter.

The mid-cap Ftse 250 index fell 0.4 per cent, slipping from record highs hit earlier in the week.

Global education group Pearson gained 3 per cent after it reported a better-than-expected rebound in first-half profit and a 17 per cent jump in underlying sales, helping it to raise its dividend.

Ulster Bank parent NatWest eased 1.2 per cent even after it accelerated returning cash to shareholders following a return to profit.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.5 per cent in the session, but rose for a sixth straight month in July, its longest winning streak since 2012-13 when it rose for 12 months in a row.

In Frankfurt, the Dax fell 0.6 per cent, while the Cac 40 in Paris was 0.3 per cent lower.

Italy's UniCredit gained 2.8 per cent after posting higher-than-expected net profit. The bank said late on Thursday that it had embarked on formal talks with the government over the possible acquisition of rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Monte dei Paschi added 3.4 per cent.

EssilorLuxottica rose 3.4 per cent as the Ray-Ban maker raised its full-year guidance after revenue doubled in the second quarter.

German healthcare group Fresenius declined 3.9 per cent after it raised its 2021 earnings guidance but sounded cautious on new virus variants and stalling vaccination progress.


Wall Street's main indices fell in early trading on Friday following a glum quarterly earnings report from Amazon. The retailer sank 6.9 per cent, tracking its worst day since March 2020, after the company said sales growth would slow in the next few quarters as customers ventured more outside the home.

Shares of other technology behemoths, including Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Facebook, which benefited last year from people staying indoors due to the Covid-19 curbs, fell 0.6-1.8 per cent.

Pinterest plunged 19.2 per cent to its lowest in more than two months after saying US user growth was decelerating as people who used the platform for crafts and DIY projects were going out more.

Pampers maker Procter & Gamble rose 2.8 per cent as it forecast higher core earnings for this year.