INM the big mover on flat day for Irish stock market

Global shares pull back as hopes of US-China trade deal dashed

Shares in INM rose 30.5 per cent on Thursday. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Shares in INM rose 30.5 per cent on Thursday. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

The Iseq all-share index rose just 0.03 per cent on the day amid a global slowdown after hopes of a US-China trade deal were dashed.

Dublin

Stocks in the Republic were broadly flat on Thursday following on from a couple of good days.

The biggest story in the stock market was the 30.5 per cent rise for Independent News and Media after it confirmed it may be sold, having received a takeover approach from an unnamed suitor.

The announcement came after The Irish Times reported that the group’s chief executive, Michael Doorly, had raised the prospect of a sale of the newspaper group in meetings with members of the Dublin investment community in recent days.

Budget airline Ryanair caught a break on the day and saw a bit of a relief rally after its rival, EasyJet, issued a weak outlook statement earlier in the week. The airline rose 2.32 per cent to €11.66.

Although there was little volume traded on the day, losers included CRH, which fell almost 1 per cent to €28.93 and Hibernia Reit, which dipped 1.03 per cent to €1.35.

London

The FTSE 100 struggled for direction on Thursday, while sterling took a knock on continued Brexit worries. London’s top flight closed down 0.22 per cent

In stocks, action was to be found on the FTSE 250, where shares in Saga capitulated after the over-50s insurance and holiday firm warned over profits amid a company overhaul. The group said it is launching a “fundamental” strategy rethink which will see it change tactics in the insurance business to address “increasing challenges” in its markets. Shares tumbled as much as 40 per cent at one stage.

Mothercare shares also came under pressure as the baby retailer revealed UK sales tumbled 8.8 per cent in its fourth quarter and warned that trading conditions are set to remain “challenging”.

The main index was weighed down by steep losses in financials Lloyds, Direct Line and St James’s Place, which traded ex-dividend.

Software company Micro Focus fell 6 per cent to its worst day in 10 months after a Citigroup downgrade, while miners dropped 1.2 per cent as copper prices fell on demand concerns following weak German factory data.

Europe

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.3 per cent, as most sectors ended in negative territory.

Banking stocks were among the rare gainers on the day with a 0.2 per cent rise. Commerzbank gained 2.8 per cent to lead the sector index after sources said there was buyout interest from Italian lender UniCredit if Commerzbank’s talks with Deutsche Bank break down.

Milan-traded UniCredit shares dipped 0.7 per cent, while Deutsche Bank fell 0.8 per cent.

Industrial goods and services stocks slid 0.4 per cent with Thyssenkrupp dropping 1.3 per cent. A top-20 investor said the slide in the German company’s share price could necessitate changes to a planned breakup of the conglomerate and even delay the move.

New York

US stocks inched higher on Thursday driven by Facebook and Boeing, adding to gains following a strong start to the quarter.

Facebook rose more than 2 per cent, providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500, after brokerage Guggenheim upgraded the social media company’s stock to “buy” from “neutral”.

Boeing reversed course to trade up, contributing the most to gains on the Dow and the S&P industrial index. Ethiopian investigators urged the planemaker to review its flight control technology and said pilots of state carrier Ethiopian Airlines had carried out proper procedures in the first public findings on the crash of a 737 MAX 8 jet that killed 157 people.

A big decliner was Tesla, which tumbled 9 per cent after the electric carmaker’s deliveries fell 31 per cent in the first quarter on challenges in shipping to Europe and China. – Additional reporting: Reuters/PA