Shares tumble on escalating trade war tensions

House builders take Iseq hit as Brexit nerves bite

Shares tumbled on Wednesday as escalating trade tensions between the US and China fanned fears of slowing global growth.


House builders had little relief, traders said. Cairn Homes fell 1.96 per cent to €1.202, "and is probably down 10 per cent in the last couple of weeks", one dealer remarked. Rival Glenveagh shed 1.3 per cent to close at 76 cent.

Traders suggested that both could also be suffering a knock-on Brexit effect, falling as London-listed builders also take a hit on the days when news about the UK’s planned exit from the EU is bad.

Investors didn't fancy their chances with Flutter Entertainment, parent of bookie Paddy Power and owner of several gambling businesses in Europe, the US and Australia. Its share slid 4.45 per cent to €63.50, although there was no stock-specific news driving that fall.


Other heavy hitters also had a bad day. Building materials giant CRH, which generates half its sales in the US, was down 1.2 per cent at €27.91. Multinational packaging group Smurfit Kappa was down 2.39 per cent at €24.55.

Investors showed no appetite for food stocks. Consumer food and ingredients specialist Kerry lost 1.92 per cent to €102.20. Dairy giant Glanbia dropped 2.07 per cent to €15.15.

AIB slipped 0.53 per cent to €3.738 while Bank of Ireland fell 1.93 per cent to €4.782.


Irish convenience food group Greencore, which is listed on the London market, joined others in its sector in falling sharply, shedding 3.74 per cent to close at 201 pence sterling.

Another Irish-linked company, oil explorer Tullow, fell 3.69 per cent to 201.2p on a day when its industry proved unpopular with investors.

Logistics group Stobart, owner of Irish regional airline Stobart Air, surged 5.96 per cent to 124.4 after reporting that revenue rose 40 per cent to £147 million, although it lost £42 million before tax.

Tesco tumbled 5.21 per cent to 225.8p on the back of a report showing that Britain's big supermarket chains are all losing market share. Rivals Sainsbury's and Morrisons were also hit.

British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands lost more than 2 per cent, a day after data from Nielsen showed cigarette industry volumes fell in the four weeks to May 18th.

Defensive stocks, including utilities Severn Trent and National Grid, considered less risky in times of political and economic uncertainty, also gained about half a per cent each.

The price of traditional safe haven gold rose, allowing Fresnillo to eke out slight gains, while African venture Rainbow Rare Earths surged 26 per cent.


Food giant Danone led the way down in its sector, sliding 1.19 per cent to €71.40 in Paris. Irish-Swiss baker Aryzta also suffered slightly, dipping 0.5 per cent to 1.30 Swiss francs in Zurich.

Oil and gas stocks dropped 1.7 per cent with wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems sliding 4.2 per cent.

The retailers sub-index posted the steepest losses on the Europe-wide Stoxx 600, with Casino Group falling 4 per cent after the indebted French supermarket cancelled its interim dividend and suffered a new credit ratings downgrade.


Wall Street’s main indices hit a near three-month low on Wednesday, as growing fears of a protracted trade war between the US and China sent investors scurrying for the safety of government bonds.

Johnson & Johnson dropped 5.4 per cent after a lawsuit that accused the drugmaker of fuelling the US opioid epidemic proceeded to its second day of trial, pulling healthcare stocks down 1.20 per cent.

Capri Holdings plunged 11 per cent, the most among S&P companies, after the Michael Kors owner issued a disappointing first-quarter profit forecast as it spends more on marketing. General Mills dropped 5.9 per cent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "sell". Additional reporting – Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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