North Korean tensions continue to stoke investor concerns

Ireland’s benchmark index fell as European shares rose

Ryanair lingered at the lower end of Ireland’s benchmark index on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ryanair lingered at the lower end of Ireland’s benchmark index on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson


Shares in Europe and the United States rose on Wednesday, but Asian markets fell and gold neared a one -year high on investor concern about tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Ireland’s benchmark index bucked the European trend to close down on the day by 0.32 per cent.


Although it was a relatively quiet day on the Irish stock exchange, some stocks saw considerable volume.

Housing stocks moved upwards for the most part after a report from Davy stockbrokers suggested the supply and demand imbalance in Ireland’s housing market was bigger than first thought.Green REIT pushed up by 0.54 per cent while Cairn Homes edged up by 0.29 per cent a day after it issued strong quarterly results.

Meanwhile, Ryanair lingered at the lower end of Ireland’s benchmark index after dropping 0.83 per cent on the day. The drop was attributed to the company’s new bag policy and a drop in their fares for check-in bags which is expected to cost around €50 million to implement.

After a poor few weeks, Paddy Power Betfair recorded its sixth positive day after the company closed up by 1.51 per cent on the Irish market. While there has been talk of increased regulation on betting companies in the UK, this appears to have eased allowing the stock to tick up.


British shares fell on Wednesday, weighed down by losses among banks and housebuilders although they ended off lows hit on simmering geopolitical tensions in the Korean peninsula.

The biggest FTSE loser however was Barratt Developments, down 4.6 per cent after the housebuilder reported results and said it would continue to monitor “carefully” the impact of Brexit on its business. Smaller peer Berkeley fell 2.5 per cent.

The company said the London property market continued to be impacted by uncertainty surrounding Brexit and a property tax hike.

Royal Mail was down 0.7 per cent after Britain’s Communications Workers Union said it would ballot more than 100,000 of its members over industrial action.

Easyjet was down 0.4 per cent after HSBC cut its target price to 1550p from 1600p.

Glaxosmithkline fell 0.5 per cent after Credit Suisse cut its target price to 1725p from 1775p.


Denmark’s Jyske Bank was the biggest faller on the pan-European Stoxx 600 index, dropping 5.02 per cent after BRFholding reduced its stake in the lender.

Results spurred some sizeable individual stock moves, with shares in Micro Focus soaring 6.16 per cent near the top of the Stoxx after a well-received third quarter update.

Daimler led auto stocks higher, the only sector to make any gains, after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the Mercedes maker to “buy”. “We believe the process of creating separate legal entities is a precursor to a more flexible holding company structure, potentially paving the way for a Truck listing that would release shareholder value,” analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note.


The S&P and the Dow edged higher on Wednesday as energy and financial stocks rose, but again, gains were capped by worries over North Korean tensions and a potential US landfall of Hurricane Irma.

Exxon Mobil’s rise was the biggest boost to the S&P, while a rise of Goldman Sachs and Home Depot shares propelled the Dow.

Oil prices rose as strong global refining margins and the reopening of US Gulf Coast refineries provided a more bullish outlook after sharp drops due to Storm Harvey.

Financial stocks also gained, a day after they suffered their biggest one-day fall since mid-May.

United Continental fell after it warned Hurricane Harvey and North Korea tensions would hurt its third-quarter results.

Newell Brands was off after the Sharpie maker slashed its profit outlook for 2017, while apparel retailer Francesca’s Holdings was down after its profit forecast fell below estimates.

(Additional reporting: Reuters)