Greencore and Aryzta shares fall as European markets go into reverse
London on the back foot on stronger sterling and profit-taking
Shares were broadly higher on Wall Street in early afternoon trading. Photograph: AFP via Getty
European stocks broke a four-day winning streak on Thursday as investors mulled the stalemate in US stimulus negotiations. Greencore and Aryzta stood out as Irish names to succumb to selling pressure, each for specific in-house issues.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.6 per cent lower, while the Iseq index in Dublin dropped 0.5 per cent to 6,457.27.
After a US move to ban two popular Chinese apps last week, investors are nervous about upcoming talks between Beijing and Washington officials over a trade deal agreed earlier this year.
Meanwhile, US Democrats and Republicans remain deadlocked after weeks of wrangling over a fifth coronavirus aid bill to support the struggling economy.
Aryzta fell 3.2 per cent to 56 cent as news that the group is lining up a new chairman dented hopes that the baked goods group will secure a takeover bid as it continues talks with unnamed parties who have made unsolicited approaches in recent months.
Glanbia added 1.6 per cent to €9.34 as it recovered some of the ground lost on Wednesday after issuing a weak set of interim results.
Banking stocks were in demand, however, with AIB up 4.2 per cent, while Bank of Ireland advanced 1.8 per cent and Permanent TSB moved 7.2 per cent higher.
Dublin-based but London-listed Greencore slid 2.6 per cent as the sandwich-maker said 300 staff in a UK facility have been diagnosed with Covid-19 after the company ramped up testing following an outbreak in the town of Northampton.
Some heavyweight stocks trading ex-dividend and a stronger sterling hit the UK’s blue-chip companies, while investors sold off banks and energy stocks that have outperformed this week..
The FTSE 100 slid 1.5 per cent as a jump in sterling hurt exporters on the index, while heavyweights such as AstraZeneca, BP and GlaxoSmithKline traded without entitlement to a dividend pay-out, hitting their shares.
“A combination of some big stocks trading without the rights to their dividend and a bit of profit-taking after a strong run for equities so far in August saw the FTSE 100 on the back foot,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould. The FTSE 100 is up about 5 per cent so far this month, despite Thursday’s dip.
In earnings, bus company National Express tumbled 16.2 per cent and posted its worst day since March as it warned of more pressure on its finances over the next year.
Tourism company TUI fell after it said it was considering divestments or raising new equity to reduce debt taken on to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Danish brewer Carlsberg slid 5.8 per cent on a warning that lockdowns will hit sales in the second half of the year in its key markets of China and western Europe.
German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp plunged 16.3 per cent as it reported a net loss of €678 million for its financial third-quarter, and said orders declined 35 per cent.
Shares were broadly higher on Wall Street in early afternoon trading, with Apple inching toward $2 trillion (€1.7 trillion) in market capitalisation, while data showed weekly jobless claims fell below one million last week for the first time since the start of the pandemic in the US.
While the S&P 500 remained within striking distance of a record high, the blue-chip Dow was weighed down by a slump in Cisco Systems after the company forecast first-quarter revenue and profit below estimates.
Apple rose as a report said the iPhone-maker was readying a series of subscription bundles for its digital services.
Movie theatre group AMC Entertainment jumped after the company said it would start its first phase of reopening locations in the US from August 20th, covering more than 100 venues. – Additional reporting, Reuters