Evergrande worries and weak German confidence weigh on stock markets

Iseq ends session 0.5 per cent lower, tracking a wider fall in European stocks

Stocks fell on Friday as worries about troubled property developer China Evergrande and weak German business confidence data prompted investors to book some profits after a mid-week rally.

Investor worries over Evergrande resurfaced as a deadline for paying $83.5 million (€71.2 million) in bond interest passed without a statement from the company, putting it closer to a potential default.

Dublin

The Iseq ended the session 0.5 per cent lower, tracking a wider fall in European stocks.

Banking shares stuttered, with AIB 0.48 per cent lower, ending the day at €2.303, and Bank of Ireland falling 0.43 per cent to close the week at €5.04.

Glenveagh Properties fell to €1.118, a 0.36 per cent loss over the day, while CRH was off just under 1 per cent at €42.63.

Packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa saw its stock decline 1.5 per cent to end the week at €46.93. Kerry Group shares fell 0.6 per cent to €119.90.

But airline Ryanair saw its stock climb 2.2 per cent to €16.96, recovering some of the ground it lost the previous day and bouncing back from a low of €16.345 early in the day.

Irish-led but Dutch-based Corre Energy, a renewable-energy company focused on the development, construction and future operation of grid-scale underground storage facilities, as well as the production and sale of green hydrogen, ended its first week on the Dublin market at €1.20.

London

The FTSE 100 ended lower on Friday as concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth outweighed gains in healthcare and energy stocks.

The blue-chip index eased 0.4 per cent, but snapped its three-week losing streak. Retailers, industrial miners and life insurers were the top losers.

Limiting further losses were healthcare stocks led by AstraZeneca, which jumped 2.0 per cent after trials of its prostate cancer drug Lynparza showed positive results.

The index has gained nearly 1.3 per cent this week, recording its best week since mid-August, with the healthcare and energy stocks leading the rally. However, growing worries over energy bills, food costs and tax hikes prompted a hefty drop in British consumer confidence this month as people became more downbeat about the economic outlook.

The domestically focused mid-cap index fell 0.9 per cent, and marked its third weekly loss. British outsourcer Mitie Group rose 2 per cent after it raised its fiscal 2022 profit forecast. Land Securities fell 1.4 per cent after saying it sold two retail parks for £54.3 million (€63.3 million) as part of a plan to exit its non-core businesses.

Petrofac gained 24.8 per cent after the oilfield services provider reached a plea agreement with UK's fraud prosecutor relating to the investigation into the company's past dealings in the Middle East.

Europe

European sportswear makers Adidas, Puma and JD Sports fell about 3 per cent each after US rival Nike cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and predicted delays during the holiday shopping season due to a supply chain crunch.

Retail stocks were the top decliners in Europe, down 1.7 per cent, while the region-wide Stoxx 600 fell 0.9 per cent. But a three-day rally put the index 0.3 per cent higher for the week.

Meanwhile, a survey by Ifo Institute showed German business morale in September fell for a third straight month. Germany's Dax fell 0.7 per cent, heading into the weekend when the country will vote to elect German chancellor Angela Merkel's successor.

The benchmark Stoxx 600 is on course to end September in the red after seven consecutive months of gains as rising energy prices and supply-chain bottlenecks fed into fears of inflation, while major central banks plan to cut pandemic-era stimulus.

However, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said in an interview aired on CNBC that many of the drivers of a recent spike in euro zone inflation are temporary and could fade in the next year.

Italy's utilities Enel and Eni inched higher after the government set aside more than €3 billion to curb a strong increase in retail energy bills.

New York

US stock indexes fell on Friday following a two-day rally, as worries persisted about the spillover from debt-laden China Evergrande.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced in early trading, with economy-sensitive energy, financials and defensive utilities shares leading gains. Technology and consumer discretionary were the biggest losers.

Nike dropped 6.5 per cent to weigh the most on the Dow and the S&P 500 after warning of delays during the holiday shopping season, blaming a supply chain crunch.

Shares of peer Under Armour also fell 3 per cent, while footwear retailer Foot Locker dropped 5.7 per cent.

Mega-cap growth names Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook, Apple and Tesla slid between 0.3 per cent and 0.9 per cent.

Shares of cryptocurrency-related firms Coinbase Global, MicroStrategy, Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Group tumbled between 3.1 per cent and 6.5 per cent after China's central bank vowed to crack down on cryptocurrency trading. – Additional reporting: Reuters