Softening of trade rhetoric boosts global stocks

Ireland underperformed European peers with Iseq overall falling 0.16 per cent

Signs of an easing in the trade dispute between the US and the European Union helped push European stocks higher on Thursday with gains in the car sector.

Ireland, however, didn't gain from the softening of rhetoric with the benchmark index falling, led lower by troubled airline Ryanair which could face strike action across parts of its fleet from pilots and cabin crew.


Ireland’s Iseq overall index underperformed European markets on Thursday, closing 0.16 per cent lower.

It was, however, a positive day for cider maker C&C which closed up 1.96 per cent at €3.38 on the back of a strong trading statement. In particular, analysts were buoyed by the company's suggestion that it is seeing moderate volume growth in Bulmers.


On the other end of the Iseq was budget airline Ryanair, which fell to the bottom of the Iseq 20 on the day. Europe's biggest airline by passenger numbers dropped 2.51 per cent to €15.15 as it comes under pressure from pilots and cabin crew warning of strike action. The continual drip feed of bad news is damaging confidence in the stock, Dublin brokers suggested.

Bank stocks performed well on the day with pillar banks AIB and Bank of Ireland both up on the day. AIB advanced 2.46 per cent to €4.84 while Bank of Ireland increased 1.12 per cent to €6.745. However, both are expected to be troubled on Friday as the Central Bank announced after the close of trading that lenders will be required to hold additional capital of 1 per cent in order to protect themselves in the event of a sudden downturn.

Significant volume was recorded on the day in Kingspan, which fell 0.12 per cent to €42.15, and Total Produce, which dropped 2.28 per cent to €2.14.


The blue chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.4 per cent, slightly underperforming other European bourses.

In London, a rise in materials stocks added the most points to the British index, with shares in Glencore and Rio Tinto up 2.1 per cent and 1.8 per cent.

Heavyweights and oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP also contributed to keep the index in positive territory, rising 0.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

Shares in Associated British Foods posted the worst individual performance, down 4.2 per cent, after it warned lower European Union prices would hit profit in its sugar business.

Among smaller stocks, Superdry jumped 7.1 per cent after posting double-digit growth in full-year revenue and declared a special dividend.


The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed with a 0.4 per cent gain for its third straight positive session.

Germany’s exporter-heavy DAX, meanwhile, was helped driven 1.2 per cent higher by its carmakers.

BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen were among the biggest STOXX risers, closing up as much as 4 per cent after a report about a US offer to suspend threats to impose tariffs on cars imported from the European Union.

Shares in France's Sodexo were the biggest STOXX 600 gainers, up 8.7 per cent after the food services and facilities management group maintained its full-year goals despite posting slower third-quarter sales growth.

SBM Offshore was the biggest faller, down 7.2 per cent after a Brazilian court ordered Petrobras to provisionally withhold some payments to SBM to ensure the Dutch company paid whatever penalties it received in a corruption case.

New York

The rally in Europe spilled over to US stocks, with New York-listed stock of Fiat gaining 5.8 per cent. Ford climbed 0.5 per cent and General Motors rose 1.2 per cent.

Technology stocks led the gains, helped by chipmakers Qualcomm, Intel and Qorvo. Micron Technologies rose 2 per cent after the company said a temporary ban on some sales in China would hurt its quarterly revenue by just 1 per cent.

– Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business