Markets tread water on mixed economic signals

Iseq falls back as AIB and Glanbia among big hitters to issue trading updates

CRH finished the session up more than 0.5 per cent to €30.15, after its management update revealed plans for a further €350 million share buyback in coming months

CRH finished the session up more than 0.5 per cent to €30.15, after its management update revealed plans for a further €350 million share buyback in coming months

 

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.1 per cent lower, breaking an eight-session winning run during which it gained 1.5 per cent. After opening lower, weighed by signals that China has put broader stimulus on hold, the index briefly gained but reverted to losses as a dip in oil prices hit energy stocks.

US stocks hovered below their all-time highs, as investors digested a mixed batch of earnings reports and the losses in energy stocks limited index gains.

Dublin

The Iseq fell 0.7 per cent, following trading updates from a couple of its big hitters.

Dairy ingredients giant Glanbia fell more than 6 per cent to €16.35 per share, after releasing a trading update ahead of its agm. The group broadly performed well, but there was a sharp dip in volumes at its performance nutrition division.

CRH finished the session up more than 0.5 per cent to €30.15, after its management update revealed plans for a further €350 million share buyback in coming months.

AIB fell 2.9 per cent to €4.10, as the bank told investors at its agm that State-enforced bans on executive bonuses were affecting the group.

London

Britain’s min equities index dropped as oil majors weakened amid signs that global markets remain adequately supplied.

The FTSE 100 lost 0.7 per cent on its worst day in a month, but the midcaps gained 0.4 per cent with gold miner Centamin leading gains after an update.

Bellwethers Shell and BP dropped from multi-month highs as crude prices retreated – after having jumped to their 2019 highs this week – and the US pushed to tighten sanctions against Iran.

Shell recorded its worst day in over a month, while BP suffered its biggest one-day drop since late January.

Anglo American, with a 4 per cent decline, was among the biggest blue-chip losers, after JP Morgan cut its rating on the stock.

Sainsbury’s gave up 1.6 per cent. Britain’s competition regulator is expected to publish its final report on the supermarket group’s planned takeover of Walmart-owned rival Asda on Thursday.

Associated British Foods added 2 per cent after its first-half results showed profit at its Primark chain jumped thanks to an expansion drive.

Europe

German shares hit their highest in more than six months, outperforming their European peers and helped by a surge in software firm SAP.

It soared 12.6 per cent to an all-time high and gained more than €14 billion in market capitalisation as activist investor Elliott Management disclosed a €1.2 billion stake and said it supported a new management efficiency drive.

Top performer on the DAX was Wirecard, which climbed 8.5 per cent after the payments company confirmed Japan’s Softbank Group Corp will buy a 5.6 per cent stake in the firm.

Swiss stocks climbing to a record high also helped limit the broader index’s losses. Novartis 2.4 per cent rise drove gains on the Swiss index as the drugmaker raised its 2019 guidance.

Shares in Milan and Madrid fell the most in the region, both down more than 0.7 percent, with banks weighing on IBEX.

New York

Boeing gained 1.3 per cent. The planemaker scrapped its 2019 outlook and reported quarterly revenue below estimates due to grounding of its 737 MAX jets. Its shares have lost 11 per cent since the deadly Ethiopian crash in early March.

Caterpillar fell 2.5 per cent as rising costs hit margins in its construction equipment business and the company reported tepid sales in the Asia Pacific region. AT&T declined 4.4 per cent after the second-largest US wireless carrier reported quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates.

Microsoft, Facebook and Tesla, all set to report after the closing bell on Wednesday, were down slightly.

Chip stocks rose as much as 1.9 per cent to a record high after shares of Texas Instruments clawed back losses.

EBay jumped 4.6 per cent after it raised its full-year sales and profit forecasts.

– Additional reporting, Reuters