Global markets await US jobs report on Friday

European shares weighed down by pharma and oil, while Irish recruiter CPL is up 3.2%

Martin Zielke, chief executive officer of Commerzbank: the bank rose 2.2 per cent, leading gainers on Germany’s DAX. The stock was supported by news the bank and its r rival Deutsche Bank recently explored   merger prospects. Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Martin Zielke, chief executive officer of Commerzbank: the bank rose 2.2 per cent, leading gainers on Germany’s DAX. The stock was supported by news the bank and its r rival Deutsche Bank recently explored merger prospects. Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

 

European shares closed flat on Thursday, weighed down by pharma and oil stocks, while banks extended a recent rally which was fuelled by expectations of monetary tightening in the United States. The Iseq rose 0.2 per cent.

The S&P 500 and the Dow were slightly lower on Thursday, after sluggish monthly factory activity data dented optimism about the economy, even as investors count down to a crucial jobs report on Friday.

DUBLIN

Anne Heraty’s recruiter, CPL Resources, performed strongly, up 3.2 per cent, after reporting a strong set of results for the year to the end of June. CPL delivered profits growth of more than a fifth, although it warned that the market is currently highly competitive.

Datalex, the travel software company backed by investors including Dermot Desmond, performed strongly, following its positive results on Tuesday. It was up more than 8 per cent at one stage in the afternoon, before falling back slightly to close up 6.7 per cent.

Forecourts retailer Applegreen fell 2.25 per cent, ahead of its results next Tuesday. The stock was sold heavily in late trading.

Ryanair and Smurfit Kappa, two of the biggest stocks on the index, both fared well, up more than 2.5 per cent.

LONDON

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.5 per cent at 6,745.97 points. Shares of oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP also weakened in tandem with lower oil prices.

In contrast, the FTSE 250 index of mid-sized stocks, more sensitive to the domestic UK economy than the blue-chip index, rose 0.7 per cent after relatively strong manufacturing data.

FTSE 100 engineering stock GKN also outperformed with a rise of 4.8 per cent. Traders cited vague market talk of bid interest for the company, which said it had no comment to make on the speculation.

Recruitment firm Hays languished in the red after it said the British jobs market had “significantly” weakened around the time of the EU referendum, with the company flagging tough conditions in banking.

Hays reported pre-tax profits for the full year to June 30th up 11 per cent, but its shares were still down 0.5p to 130.1p.

EUROPE

Commerzbank rose 2.2 per cent, leading gainers on Germany’s DAX. The stock was supported this week by news the bank and its bigger rival Deutsche Bank had recently explored prospects for a merger.

On Thursday, Germany’s financial watchdog said banking mergers can help to lower costs but are no panacea for the problems confronting the sector.

Swedish company Elekta rose around 1.5 per cent after the maker of radiation therapy equipment posted profits above forecast and said demand had been good in emerging markets, with China particularly strong.

Pernod Ricard advanced 2.3 per cent after forecasting profit growth for the current fiscal year. Eiffage climbed 1.1 per cent after the French construction company said profitability improved at its contracting and concessions divisions in the first half of the year.

NEW YORK

Shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup fell between 1-1.6 per cent and were among the top drags on the S&P, heading into the afternoon.

Goldman Sachs fell 0.8 per cent and was the biggest pull on the Dow.

A 2.6 per cent drop in oil prices weighed down energy companies. Exxon was off 0.6 per cent and Chevron fell 0.5 per cent

Wynn Resorts was the top percentage gainer on the S&P, gaining 6.1 per cent after Macau, the world’s biggest casino hub, posted a 1.1 per cent rise in gambling revenue in August.

The Nasdaq was higher, boosted by Charter Communications, which rose 4.2 per cent after the S&P Dow Jones Indices said the cable services company is set to join the S&P 500 index. Gains in Microsoft and Apple also buoyed the index.

– Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg/PA