Iseq bucks trend to finish higher
UK stocks back in the red, ending short-lived recovery as FTSE marks second week of losses
European shares struggled in the final trading session of the week, as Thursday’s bounce proved to have little staying power. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed down 0.2 per cent as the London, Frankfurt and Paris markets all edged lower, while the US market was also in negative territory in early trading.
The Dublin market went against the prevailing subdued trend, finishing the week with a gain.
The Iseq index rose 0.6 per cent, supported by gains for its biggest stocks. Ryanair added to its gains earlier in the week, closing up 1.8 per cent at €17.67, while building materials group CRH advanced 1.3 per cent to €30.32, buoyed for a second day by positive sentiment in the sector.
Paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa added 2.8 per cent to €25.73 and was also one of the biggest risers on the London market.
Independent News & Media lost 2 per cent, however, and continues to trade below 10 cent, while banking stocks Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB all finished in the red.
Paddy Power Betfair was unable to sustain Thursday’s momentum, slipping 0.2 per cent to €98.45, but Kerry Group added 0.75 per cent to €88.56.
British stocks fell back into the red on Friday, ending a short-lived recovery, as takeover interest boosted Sky and construction firm Carillion plummeted after warning it would breach debt covenants. The FTSE 100 marked its second week of losses as a worldwide sell-off took the shine off risky assets, sending the index of blue-chip stocks down 0.1 per cent.
Pay-TV firm Sky shot more than 4 per cent higher, for the biggest gains on the FTSE 100, after sources said Comcast and Verizon Communications had expressed interest in acquiring some of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox’s assets.
Downgrades and disappointing results sent the broader market lower. Small-cap construction firm Carillion collapsed more than 48 per cent after a third profit warning set it up to breach debt covenants at the end of the year.
Shire fell 1.8 per cent after shooting up 6 per cent on Thursday when rival Roche’s haemophilia drug was given a black box warning by the US regulator.
A downgrade from HSBC sent United Utilities down 4.4 per cent, which was the sharpest fall among large cap stocks.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index drifted lower amid mixed national benchmarks as the region’s common currency climbed for the first time in three days. In Germany, the Dax slipped 0.4 per cent, while the Cac 40 in France closed down 0.3 per cent.
Volkswagen approved a €34 billion spending plan on Friday that accelerates its efforts to become a global leader in electric cars. The German vehicle maker traded 1.6 per cent higher during the session, but closed level at €160.50.
Shares in French media group Vivendi rose 4.4 per cent after chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine said its Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music label, could be worth more than $40 billion.
Wall Street stocks were lower, as was the dollar, as investors pulled back from technology stocks and were sceptical that President Donald Trump’s Republican party would succeed in its efforts at US tax reform.
The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq all lost ground as investors eyed the prospects for tax reform and positioned themselves for the close of earnings season and what is typically a quieter Thanksgiving holiday week.
Shares of 21st Century Fox jumped 6 per cent in early trading after sources said Comcast and Verizon had expressed interest in acquiring a significant part of the company’s assets. Abercrombie & Fitch jumped 20 per cent and Gap rose about 6.3 per cent after the two clothing retailers reported results that beat estimates.
(Additional reporting: Reuters)