No escaping trade tensions on the markets
Iseq underperforms European peers with Ryanair and Glanbia among losers
US-China trade tensions kept stock market gains muted on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters
European stocks edged higher on Thursday, boosted by strong corporate earnings, although concerns over China-US trade tensions and new sanctions against Russia kept gains muted.
Dairy giant Kerry Group advanced 1.9 per cent to €93.85, putting it at the top of the smaller Iseq 20 index, after increasing its earnings per share guidance and announcing profit increased 0.5 per cent to €340 million.
Its sectoral bedfellow, Glanbia, fell 1.59 per cent to €14.88 after the Kilkenny-headquartered group said profit fell 14.5 per cent in the first half of the year. Chief executive Siobhán Talbot noted that the company’s growth is weighted toward the second half of the year, however.
Both food groups started off the day in quite lacklustre fashion but levelled off by the close of trading.
Elsewhere, budget airline Ryanair continued its fall on Thursday as it geared up for strike action on Friday. European’s largest airline by passenger numbers closed down 0.37 per cent at €13.545.
Building materials giant CRH was another loser on the day, falling 2.18 per cent to €28.27 although there was no news specific to the stock.
Financials had a mixed day with Bank of Ireland closing 1.54 per cent higher at €7.575 while AIB dipped 0.66 per cent to €4.982.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.5 per cent, with oil majors BP and Shell and miner Rio Tinto, who traded ex-dividend, fell 2.1, 1.7 per cent, and 1.8 per cent, respectively.
Elsewhere, earnings continued to drive the day. TUI shares fell as much as 9.7 per cent after its quarterly results disappointed investors. Its shares recovered during the session to end down 2.5 per cent.
Shares in defence company G4S fell 7.8 per cent, suffering its biggest one-day fall since March 2016, after first-half earnings missed company-compiled expectations, partly due to weaker margins in its Cash Solutions business.
The Stoxx 600 index reversed earlier losses on Thursday and ended the session 0.1 per cent higher.
German sportswear firm Adidas soared more than 9 per cent after it reported a better-than-expected second quarter, while cinema operator Cineworld jumped 10.7 per cent after posting a rise in half-year revenue. Cineworld’s results were lifted by blockbusters such as “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther”.
However, individual stocks were not immune to geopolitics. While Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank surpassed expectations in the second quarter, its shares fell 6 per cent as new US sanctions against Russia put pressure on companies with exposure to the country.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was close to an all-time high on the back of strong move in technology stocks.
Apple rose by 0.8 per cent, while Amazon was up 0.6 per cent and Microsoft 0.4 per cent.
The energy sector was the biggest loser, dragged down by Occidental Petroleum, the largest Permian producer, which boosted its capital expenditure.
Bookings Holdings fell 5.9 per cent and weighed the most on the S&P and the Nasdaq after it forecast third-quarter profit below expectations.
Sinclair dropped 2.4 per cent after Tribune Media ended its $3.9 billion deal to be acquired by Sinclair and filed suit. Tribune shares rose 2.9 per cent.
Chip stocks fell after Morgan Stanley downgraded the US semiconductor industry, saying upside to estimates is difficult to come by. Micron, Applied Materials and ON Semiconductor fell between 1.8 per cent and 2.4 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters