Markets becalmed across Europe after early advance

Kingspan rises after upbeat note from Davy predicting 30% increase in first-half profits

European shares rose briefly yesterday before ending the day level. Many markets, including Austria, Greece, Italy and Poland, were closed for a holiday – the Feast of the Assumption – hitting the overall level of trade.


Lower activity in Europe had a knock-on effect here, with traders in Dublin complaining of a very, very quiet day as the market closed.

Insulation and building products manufacturer, Kingspan, closed 0.3 per cent up at €21.86 after stockbroker Davy issued an upbeat note predicting that the company's first-half figures, due next Monday, will show a 30 per cent increase in profits.

The stock was up more than 2.5 per cent at €22.365 in early trade on the back of the prediction before slipping back later in the day.


Paddy Power Betfair, due to report its first set of interims as a merged entity next week, rose 1.53 per cent to €112.70. Rivals William Hill and 888-Rank seemed less likely to join forces yesterday after it emerged that the British bookie had turned down a revised offer from its suitor.


London’s top flight index hit a 14-month high and finished just shy of the 7,000 mark as sterling hit fresh low of 1.1492 against the euro, and investors began pricing in the prospect of fresh monetary stimulus from the Bank of England.

William Hill was the top STOXX 600 faller, down 6.4 per cent after it rejected a revised approach from 888-Rank, saying it continued to see no merit in engaging with the consortium.

Accountancy software giant Sage Group came under pressure after it was hit by an internal data breach. Shares dropped more than 4 per cent in early trading, before closing up 0.5 pence sterling to 740.5 pence.

Away from the top tier, housebuilder Bovis Homes was nearly 3 per cent lower, despite booking a double-digit rise in profits. The FTSE 250 firm said the "underlying market fundamentals" for the UK housing market remained positive in the wake of the EU referendum result, as half year pre-tax profits stepped up 15 per cent to £61.7 million to June 30, up from £53.8 million in 2015. Revenues also climbed 18 per cent to £412.8 million.

However, shares were down 23 pence to 813 pence, after its sales rate slipped to 0.5 since the end of June, down from 0.58 in 2015.

Shares in retail giant Sports Direct took a hammering after the firm agreed to pay thousands of staff £1 million in back pay.


European shares were little changed, with Germany’s DAX Index close to erasing its annual drop, as investors assessed recent gains in light of the outlook for earnings and economic growth.

Rebounding automakers posted the best performance of the Stoxx Europe 600 Index's 19 industry groups.Volkswagen AG's 1.4 per cent advance buoyed the DAX, which entered a bull market last week, to within 0.1 per cent of recouping its 2016 losses.

European stocks climbed to their highest level in seven weeks yesterday, supported by firmer healthcare stocks after Belgian pharmaceuticals group UCB won a favourable US court ruling. It surged 8.9 per cent after a US court confirmed the validity of a patent related to the Vimpat product, lifting other healthcare stocks. The STOXX Europe 600 Health Care index . outperformed the market with a 0.5 percent rise.


US stock indexes climbed to all-time highs yesterday, building on their record-setting rallies of the past few weeks.

Post Properties hit a record high after the company agreed to be bought by Mid-America Apartment Communities for about $3.88 billion. Mid-America's shares fell 5.8 per cent.

Xylem rose 3.6 per cent after the water technology company said it would buy Sensus USA for about $1.7 billion in cash.

Apple rose 1.1 per cent to $109.34 and gave the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq, while the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index touched a 16-year high.

– (Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters)

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas