Iseq flat but other European and US markets rise on earnings reports

Tech stocks surge in US as economy-linked energy, industrials and materials shares fall

European shares rose on Thursday, hitting yet another record high, as strong earnings from insurers and M&A activity in the UK helped offset a fall in mining stocks.

In the United States, the S&P 500 inched to a record high by lunchtime, with mega-cap technology stocks taking charge as investors weighed data showing a steady jobs market recovery against a rise in producer prices.


The Iseq had a quiet session, finishing broadly where it began on Thursday morning.

Dairy and food group Glanbia finished the day ahead by less than 0.3 per cent to €14.10 per share, despite increasing its interim dividend and launching a €50 million share buyback. The company announced that revenues for the six-month period ended July 3rd were stronger than expected, up more than 11 per cent. Yet immediately after its announcement its shares fell before recovering well by lunchtime, and then falling again in the afternoon.


Most travel-related stocks had a tough afternoon, as worries grow that the rise of the Delta variant may stanch the recovery in the sector. Dalata Hotel Group fell 2.9 per cent to €3.88, Ryanair was down 1.5 per cent to €16.26, and Hostelworld fell 7.6 per cent to €1.09.


The FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent with Rio Tinto slipping 5.5 per cent as it traded ex-dividend, after logging record half-year earnings last month.

Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also among the top drags on the FTSE after the International Energy Agency said the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus would slow the recovery of global oil demand.

Stock Spirits Group soared 43.7 per cent as funds affiliated with private-equity firm CVC agreed to take over the London-listed vodka maker in a deal valuing it at £767 million.

Cineworld Group rose 3.9 per cent after it said it was considering a listing of itself or a partial listing of its movie chain Regal on Wall Street.

Insurer Aviva rose 3.5 per cent and was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 after it reported a 17 per cent rise in first-half operating profit and said it would return at least £4 billion pounds to shareholders.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index inched up 0.1 per cent, extending gains to a ninth consecutive session.

Zurich Insurance Group added 3.8 per cent on reporting a 60 per cent jump in first-half business operating profit.

Dutch insurer Aegon jumped 7.3 per cent after posting much better than expected second-quarter earnings. Deutsche Telekom rose 2.8 per cent after raising its profit outlook for the second time this year.

Adidas rose 1.6 per cent after selling its Reebok brand to Authentic Brands Groups for up to €2.1 billion, as the German sporting goods company sought to draw a line under an ill-fated investment.

New York

Alphabet, Tesla, Amazon. com, Nvidia, Microsoft, Moderna and Apple provided the biggest boost to the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the benchmark S&P 500 indexes. Healthcare and technology were the best-performing S&P 500 sectors.

On the other hand, economy-linked energy, industrials and materials shares declined, pulling the blue-chip Dow from record highs on the heels of multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure Bills.

The reversal in the sentiment came after data showed US producer prices posted their largest annual increase in more than a decade, in contrast to Wednesday’s reading, which showed growth in consumer prices was slowing.

Micron Technology dropped 7.3 per cent to the bottom of the S&P 500 after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to "equal-weight".

In earnings-related moves, Baidu's US shares dropped 4.3 per cent even after the company posted upbeat quarterly revenue.

Palantir Technologies gained 10.4 per cent after the US data-analytics firm forecast third-quarter sales above expectations. – Additional reporting Reuters

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times