Dublin-based companies Smurfit Kappa, Shire and Paddy Power counted among the five worst performers on the FTSE 100 even as major markets moved ahead on Monday while Irish investors enjoyed the Bank Holiday.
European shares extended a recovery on Monday as dealmaking took centre stage after a week of political tension in Italy and Spain, as well as friction between the United States and its allies over trade policies. Europe’s STOXX 600 gained 0.3 per cent, while the FTSE 100 advanced 0.5 per cent.
Smurfit Kappa closed down 7.2 per cent at £28.80 in London, having slid by as much as 7.5 per cent during the session, as hopes faded that the group's unwanted US suitor International Paper would mount a third bid for the company before a deadline on Wednesday morning.
Shire was also out of sorts, declining by 2.3 per cent to £39.43. The stock has been unloved since a number of major shareholders in Japanese group Takeda, which agreed to buy the Irish-based drugs group last month for £45.3 billion (€51.6bn), started to agitate last week for investor approval for major deals.
Paddy Power dipped 0.8 per cent to £89.65, as it took a breather following a strong surge recently as the group agreed to merge its US unit with website FanDeal to take advantage of an expected rise in sports betting following a ruling by the country's supreme court last month legalising sports gambling in all states. The stock had also been underpinned by a share buy-back which was launched last week.
UK-based packaging group DS Smith – a rival of Smurfit Kappa – rose 2.8 per cent after it offered to buy Spanish rival Europac for an enterprise value of €1.9 billion to strengthen its business in western Europe and its supply chain.
Lender CYBG, led by Irish banker David Duffy, gained 2.2 per cent after it upped its offer for challenger bank Virgin Money by 7 per cent.
EasyJet gained 3.8 per cent after Deutsche Bank lifted its target price for the stock and the sector benefited from the fact that AccorHotels said it was looking at buying a stake in Air France KLM.
Bank stocks jumped as much as 1.3 per cent after the Financial Times reported that Unicredit and Société Générale were exploring a merger which many investors hope could pave the way to further consolidation in the sector.
The index, however, pared some gains as analysts noted regulatory obstacles to any deal. SocGen rose 0.7 per cent and UniCredit fell 0.8 per cent, reversing earlier gains.
Air France KLM soared 5.5 per cent after AccorHotels said it was looking at taking a stake in the airline. Accor fell 6.9 per cent on the news.
Spain’s IBEX index rose 1.2 per cent after a top aide of new prime minister Pedro Sánchez rejected opposition calls for a snap election, but Italy’s FTSE MIB fell 0.5 per cent, reversing earlier gains as initial enthusiasm that the country had avoided a repeat vote faded.
US stocks climbed in early afternoon trading, led by gains in technology shares and Friday’s robust jobs data, which gave investors heightened confidence that the US economy remained strong.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7 per cent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each added 0.3 per cent.
Apple rose 1 per cent, inching its way towards becoming the first publicly listed company worth $1 trillion, ahead of its annual developers' conference.
Microsoft gained after saying it would buy privately-held coding website GitHub for $7.5 billion to expand its position among software developers.
Boeing rose after the planemaker said it would partner with French aerospace firm Safran to make and service aircraft parts.
Facebook fell on a New York Times report that claimed the company had allowed Apple and other major device-makers "deep" access to users' personal data. – Additional reporting, Reuters, Bloomberg