Iseq quiet while European indexes stage late rally on trade hopes

AIB stock falls but FBD climbs as departures announced

A late turnaround helped European stocks notch gains for a fifth straight session on Friday, as signs of progress in US-China trade talks and upbeat reports from luxury goods makers dispelled some fears about an earnings and growth slowdown. UK stocks ended the day on a sour note as Brexit jitters weighed on sentiment, although the exporter-heavy FTSE 100 marked its strongest weekly performance in nine months as the continuing political divide hurt sterling.


Trading volumes on the Iseq were thin ahead of the bank holiday weekend. The index finished ahead by 0.65 per cent.

AIB was among the fallers, finishing the session down by 2.1 per cent to €2.99. Chairman Richard Pym signalled his intention to step down next March. He has been chairman of the bank since December 2014.

Another high-profile exit at a financial services firm, this time the insurer FBD, sent its stock climbing by 2.3 per cent to €9 per share. Chief executive Fiona Muldoon announced her departure but said she would not leave for another year.


Building materials group CRH closed up 1.5 per cent to €32.99, partly on a read-through from positive Q3 figures from its peer, LafargeHolcim.


Helping limit losses on the main index, Barclays advanced 2.4 per cent after reporting a third-quarter profit that topped analysts' expectations.

WPP, the world's biggest ad firm, jumped 6.1 per cent after it reported a return to quarterly organic sales growth for the first time in more than a year, with a new strategy from boss Mark Read helping the company win more work.

Another notable gainer was luxury goods company Burberry, which added 2.1 per cent as results from Gucci parent Kering and Italian jacket maker Moncler allayed some concerns of a major hit to sales from the Hong Kong protests.

National Grid weighed with a 2.4 per cent drop after media outlets reported that New York's governor has signalled to cancel the utility's licence if it fails to co-operate with state officials regarding a moratorium on natural gas connections.


After starting the day nearly flat and eventually falling as much as 0.4 per cent, the main European equities benchmark recovered to finish 0.2 per cent higher.

The trade-sensitive German DAX rose 0.2 per cent. France’s CAC 40 outperformed major regional indexes as Gucci owner Kering jumped 8.7 per cent, while Italian jacket maker Moncler rose 11.3 per cent. The companies joined other luxury labels in easing fears of a major third quarter sales hit from protests in Hong Kong.

Europe’s retail index gained 1.2 per cent, leading gains among major subsectors.

The food and beverage sector led losses, however, after brewer AB InBev provided a cautious outlook and reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings growth, sparked by reduced demand for its beer in Brazil and South Korea. Shares in Carlsberg and Heineken dropped about 2 per cent each.

New York

The S&P 500 on Friday rose above its record closing high after a report that the United States and China were close to finalising parts of a trade pact. The benchmark index closed at 3,025.86 points after touching a record high of 3,027.98 on July 26th. On Friday, the index touched a high of 3,027.39.

Boeing dropped 1.4 per cent after Indonesian authorities looking into the Lion Air crash said the world's largest planemaker had failed to grasp risks in the design of cockpit software on its 737 Max jet. Apparel maker VF Corp fell 6.7 per cent after reporting lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue, hurt by sluggish demand for its North Face and Vans brands. Shares of Charter Communications gained 7.6 per cent after the cable operator posted better-than-expected quarterly results as it attracted more customers for its broadband services, offsetting a drop in pay TV subscribers. – (Additional reporting: Reuters)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column