London market underperforms as UK consumer confidence weakens

Markets report: US-China discord over Hong Kong reignites trade tensions

European stocks nudged lower on Friday as US-China discord over Hong Kong reignited trade tensions. The diplomatic clash saw China threaten to retaliate against a US law backing pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

The London market underperformed other major European markets as UK consumer confidence weakened and investors felt less confident of a Conservative majority in the country’s upcoming general election.


The Iseq slipped 0.4 per cent in a lacklustre finish to the week. Financial stocks suffered, with Bank of Ireland down 3.2 per cent at €4.56 and AIB 1.3 per cent lower at €2.97.

Other key stocks ended in the red. Building materials group CRH was 0.5 per cent lower at €34,73, while Ryanair edged down 0.6 per cent to €13.88. Kerry Group had a better day, advancing 0.4 per cent to €116.40, while Swiss-Irish baked goods group Aryzta rose 6 per cent to almost €1.


Glenveagh Properties closed flat. The company announced that it has completed the construction and sale of its 90-unit development at Herbert Hill, Dundrum, to an institutional investor for a price in excess of €55 million.

Cairn Homes fell 1 per cent to €1.21, while paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa was 0.25 per cent lower at €32.20.


The FTSE 100 fell 0.9 per cent, while mid-cap stocks on the FTSE 250 snapped a five-day winning streak and shed 1 per cent, their worst day in almost two months, amid pre-election jitters.

Housebuilders and retailers also fell after a survey showed consumer confidence in the UK is at its joint-lowest level since November 2013.

A number of banks lost ground after HSBC and Santander were ordered to pay back overdraft fees to thousands of customers. HSBC closed down 0.8 per cent, while Santander was 0.7 per cent lower. Blue-chip banks RBS and Lloyds gave up 2.5 per cent each.

Online grocer Ocado jumped 9.7 per cent after it announced it had signed a multimillion-pound deal to provide its shopping platform to Aeon, one of Japan's largest retailers.

Shares in Daily Mirror publisher Reach surged 15 per cent after it expressed confidence about meeting annual targets. But news publisher DMGT slipped 0.2 per cent after saying it would buy the "i" newspaper and website from JPI Media.

Commercial vehicle rental firm Northgate tumbled 10 per cent after a deal to buy accident claims handler Redde, which added 2.2 per cent.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended the session down 0.4 per cent, though there was a slightly better picture in France and Germany, where the Cac 40 and Dax both ended down about 0.1 per cent.

In corporate news, Norway’s largest bank DNB fell 6 per cent to its lowest level in more than a month after police said they were investigating whether any laws were broken in its handling of payments from an Icelandic fisheries firm to Namibia. DNB has denied wrongdoing. The stock closed at the bottom of the Stoxx 600 index in its busiest day in three years.


Wall Street edged lower on Friday in a post-holiday half-day session amid ongoing trade tensions, while retail stocks dipped on signs of a tepid start to in-store Black Friday sales.

Reports of spot checks on retailers around the US showed fewer people lining up outside stores at the start of Black Friday, suggesting a surge in online buying may have taken the shine off the country’s biggest shopping day.

The S&P 500 retail sector fell 0.7 per cent, with Kohl’s dropping 2.3 per cent. But top retailers Walmart and Best Buy were up between 0.3 per cent and 0.7 per cent.

Shares of Tech Data jumped 12.3 per cent as private equity firm Apollo Global Management raised its bid for the US information technology equipment distributor to about $5.14 billion. – Additional reporting: Reuters.