Gloom over European economy weighs on markets

Growth in Germany to remain sluggish as manufacturing data misses estimates

Mining stocks led a fall across Europe after manufacturing data missed economists’ estimates for the region and China.

A purchasing managers index for German manufacturing and services also unexpectedly declined, signalling that growth in Europe’s largest economy will remain sluggish.

Spain and Italy dipped the most among 18 western European markets, although Dublin bucked the trend with a 0.4 per cent rise for the Iseq. France’s CAC fell 0.7 per cent, with Germany’s DAX down 0.5 per cent.

Wall Street prices rose as US data on factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region and the housing market offset the worries about global demand.



A strong performance from its heavyweight stocks dragged the Iseq into positive territory. Building materials giant


rose 1.25 per cent to close at €17.76. A report this morning from Euroconstruct forecast 2.1 per cent growth next year in the European building sector. Ireland is on target to record the fastest growth in the continent, the report said.

Glanbia rose 1 per cent to close at €11.60, after steadily creeping ahead throughout the day. It was the first day's trading since a well-received capital markets day presentation, according to analysts. The company told investors it was focusing on the global brands in its sports nutrition division to drive growth.

Dragon Oil rose 2 per cent to close at €6.64. Traders said it was a read-through of news from the Italian explorer Eni, which has concluded an agreement to expand its exploration activities in Turkmenistan. Dragon operates nearby, and the Eni deal could give it a template to expand its own operations there.


BHP, the world’s biggest miner, slipped 2.6 per cent after chief executive officer

Andrew Mackenzie

said the time for massive expansions in iron-ore production has ended. Rio Tinto, the second-largest, lost 2.6 per cent, and

Anglo American

fell 2.2 per cent.

Johnson Matthey rallied 6 per cent after the supplier of chemicals and metals said full-year performance will be "slightly ahead" of results in the previous fiscal year.

Centrica, the owner of Bord Gáis Energy, fell 1.6 per cent in brisk volume after it cut its full-year earnings outlook on the back of a steep drop in energy demand due to mild weather and the extended outage of two nuclear power plants.

Broadcaster ITV fell 1.4 per cent in late trade after Europe's leading cable operator Liberty Global said it had no plans to bid for the British firm.


Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) dropped 5.5 per cent after selling about 242 million new shares at €8.25 each. BBVA said late on Wednesday that it agreed to pay as much as $2.5 billion to increase its stake in TGB, Turkey’s largest bank. The move helped drag Spain’s IBEX 35 Index down 1.6 per cent.

ThyssenKrupp rose 2.8 per cent as the steelmaker resumed dividend payments after posting its first annual profit in four years. Net income was €210 million in the fiscal year ended September 30th, compared with a loss of €1.44 billion a year earlier.


GoPro shares fell 6.8 per cent in the afternoon to $73.70 after a follow-on-offering of 10.4 million shares priced at $75 per share, a 5.2 per cent discount to Wednesday’s $79.09 close.

Best Buy added 8 per cent to $38.40 as the largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 after reporting a better-than-expected profit as cost cutting paid off and revenue increased.

Shares of Alibaba added 2.8 per cent to $111.87 after founder Jack Ma said the firm will set up an international version of its e-commerce marketplace Taobao for shoppers worldwide.

Among the top decliners was coffee company Keurig Green Mountain, down 7.7 per cent to $142.10 the day after it forecast a fiscal first-quarter profit below analysts' estimates.

– (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times