Fresh Chinese stimulus cheers investors but Brexit pall remains

Market report: Ryanair fell more than 2.3% after it appeared to end its “Ryanair Holidays” package travel brand

Ryanair fell more than 2.3 per cent to €10.04, after it appeared to end its “Ryanair Holidays” package travel brand

Ryanair fell more than 2.3 per cent to €10.04, after it appeared to end its “Ryanair Holidays” package travel brand

 

European shares rose after China signalled more stimulus measures to soften the blow from a tariff war with the US, although fresh worries over bad loans hit Italian banks and uncertainty dominated ahead of the Brexit vote.

Dublin

The Iseq index of Irish shares fell by a little more than 0.5 per cent.

Datalex stood out among the fallers, with a precipitous 59 per cent decline to €1 per share, after it emerged it may have mis-stated its profits for the first half of the year, due to a reporting error. The group now expects to make a loss.

Ryanair fell more than 2.3 per cent to €10.04, after it appeared to end its “Ryanair Holidays” package travel brand. A note on its website said it was discontinuing the package holiday service, but will honour all bookings made to date.

Paddy Power Betfair fell 1.4 per cent to €69.15, on fears that the opening up of the US online betting market may face some political resistance.

London

The export-oriented FTSE 100 rose 0.6 per cent and the domestically focused mid cap index was up 0.1 per cent as prime minister Theresa May faced the prospect of a historic defeat in a vote on her Brexit deal in parliament.

A stronger dollar aided more internationally-inclined stocks such as GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo and Reckitt Benckiser to be among the top boosts to the FTSE 100, whose members make about 70 per cent of their income abroad.

Homebuilders, among the most exposed to Brexit uncertainty, ended in the red, with Barratt dropping 1.8 per cent. Britain’s second-biggest housebuilder Persimmon also fell, despite a bright trading update.

Gambling firms fell after the US Department of Justice hinted at wider restrictions on all gambling on the internet. 888 Holdings tumbled 7.5 per cent and GVC was the biggest faller on the main index.

Online fashion retailer Boohoo shed 9 per cent as investors chose to focus on a lack of forecast for higher profit margins over a hike in full-year sales guidance.

Flybe sank 40 per cent on the small-cap index. Britain’s biggest domestic airline agreed to sell some assets and got a revised bridge loan in relation to a takeover offer by a consortium.

Europe

Sectors reliant on trade and exports to stimulus-ready China, such as tech, industrials, and autos rose though they pared gains fast after the open.

The autos sector jumped to its highest since December 5th on the stimulus news and after a strong update from Peugeot maker PSA Group soothed investors’ concerns about carmakers facing slowing demand in China. Shares in the French carmaker hit their highest since mid-November after reporting record sales for 2018 and ended up 1.3 per cent.

Italian banks fell 2 per cent on news that the European Central Bank wants euro zone banks to set aside more money for their soured loans.

M&A was a driver with Swedish telecoms company Millicom up 7 per cent after a bid from Liberty Latin America .

Kinnevik, the majority stakeholder in Millicom, rose 2.2 per cent.

Chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli fell 3.5 per cent after reporting sales rose 5.1 per cent in 2018, in line with its goal, but highlighted the market environment remained “very challenging”.

New York

Netflix jumped 6.12 per cent after the video streaming service pioneer said it was raising prices for its US subscribers. The price increases, ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter report on Thursday, boosted the communication services sector by 1.32 per cent.

JPMorgan Chase & Co dropped about 1 per cent after the biggest US lender by assets reported a lower-than-expected rise in quarterly profit and revenue, while Wells Fargo & Co fell 2.40 per cent after its quarterly revenue missed estimates. The bank subsector dropped 0.32 per cent, while the S&P 500 financial index declined marginally.

Health insurer UnitedHealth Group jumped 2.96 percent and was the top gainer on the Dow after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

(Additional reporting: Reuters)