Iseq fares better than European peers but protectionism fears still a drag on markets

Kingspan, Dalata and Green Reit rise in Dublin trading

European stocks failed to stage a recovery on Friday, posting their worst week since a market correction last February as a new sell-off hit bourses across the globe, amid worries about protectionism and fast-rising US interest rates.

A strong morning rally in US equities had begun to fade in the afternoon despite a strong performance from technology shares and easing trade tensions with China. Treasuries rose with the dollar and crude hovered at $71 a barrel.


The Iseq rose 1.3 per cent, outperforming many of its European peers, due to solid performances from some its heavyweights. Kingspan rose almost 4.6 per cent to €39.80, following a flurry of pre-close trading. If the US turns to the building industry to help ward off any external trade war effects, Kingspan may be well-placed to benefit given its large operations there.

Dalata Hotel Group rose 1.9 per cent to €5.80, taking back some of the ground it lost midweek after the Government raised VAT on the hospitality industry.


Green Reit rose 1.5 per cent to €1.48, after Davy stockbrokers upgraded forecasts.


The FTSE 100 closed down 0.16 per cent, just below the 7,000 point level, posting a weekly loss of 4.4 per cent.

Tobacco stocks Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco were the biggest drag on the index, down 3.9 per cent and 6 per cent respectively after reports of possible further restriction on vaping products in the US.

Sports Direct, the sportswear group controlled by retail tycoon Mike Ashley, rose 1.9 per cent after its agreed to buy the freehold of the Frasers department store in Glasgow for £95 million.

Ashmore increased 0.8 per cent after the emerging markets-focused fund manager said assets under management rose 3 per cent in its first quarter, boosted by inflows of client cash, market gains and acquired assets.

Shares in Patisserie Valerie, which warned on Thursday that it was in danger of collapse if it could not raise capital, were suspended. Finance director Chris Marsh was arrested by the police on Thursday night and has been released on bail.


All major bourses closed in negative territory and the main regional index ended the day down 0.2 per cent for a weekly loss of 4.8 per cent.

Tech stocks – worst hit by this week's sudden drop – made a modest comeback, up 0.5 per cent, along with the growth-sensitive autos sector. Dutch biotech Argenx rose 5.7 per cent after a positive note from broker Piper Jaffray.

Gucci owner Kering was up 2 per cent. The recovery comes after investors sold the sector earlier this week due to its big exposure to Chinese consumers amid fears about slowing growth in the world's second biggest economy.

Online retailer Zalando gained 2.6 per cent and Asos rose 4 per cent after Credit Suisse analysts said they were confident that, in Europe, retail brands preferred the two firms' platforms to Amazon.


Technology and other high-growth stocks initially led a fightback early Friday. The other major gainers were the consumer discretionary and communication services sectors, which rose 1.26 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.

The two sectors, along with tech, house the high-growth FAANG group. Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet were higher. Facebook, however, gave up early gains to trade 0.7 per cent lower. Citigroup recommended buying Netflix's shares, saying the recent sell-off was overdone. The stock's 9.7 per cent slide in the past two days is the most among the FAANGs.

However, Philip Morris fell 1.1 per cent and Altria dropped 1.9 per cent after the US Food and Drug Administration reasserted its previous focus on reducing nicotine in cigarettes, in a presentation.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 37 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded eight new highs and 152 new lows. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times