Spanish shares advance as Catalonia concerns ease; Kerry dips in Dublin
Ireland’s Iseq out of sorts, with market heavyweight Kerry Group falling by 2.1%
Kerry’s shares reached an all-time high of €84.57 on Friday, before pulling back on Monday as investors eyed the company’s first presentation to analysts on Wednesday under new chief executive Edmond Scanlon. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill
European shares advanced on Monday, with Germany’s Dax index reaching an all-time high and Spain’s Ibex buoyed as concerns over Catalonia eased following a demonstration in Barcelona over the weekend against independence.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended the session up 0.2 per cent while the Dax added 0.2 per cent to hit a record closing level, at 12,976.40. The Ibex added 0.5 per cent in Madrid.
However, Ireland’s Iseq index was out of sorts, falling 0.6 per cent to 6,817.57, with one of the market’s heavyweight stocks Kerry Group dipping by 2.1 per cent to €82.78.
The food ingredients and flavours giant’s shares had reached an all-time high of €84.57 on Friday, before pulling back on Monday as investors eyed the company’s first presentation to analysts on Wednesday under new chief executive Edmond Scanlon.
Property plays were out of sorts on speculation that the budget, to be outlined on Tuesday, will include an increase on the current 2 per cent stamp duty rate on commercial property transactions. Hibernia Reit dipped 1 per cent to €1.46, while Green Reit declined by 0.6 per cent to €1.52.
Bucking the trend, Providence Resources added 21.5 per cent to 7.9 cent, as businessman Nick Furlong’s Pageant Holdings investment company increased its stake in the oil explorer to 10.1 per cent. Providence’s shares had been heavily hit in recent months after the company abandoned two oil prospects in the Atlantic as the wells were found to hold water.
Bank of Ireland was also in demand, rising 1.2 per cent to €6.92, as Goldman Sachs upgraded its stance on the stock to outright ‘buy’ and predicted that it would close its estimated 20 per cent undervaluation against AIB over time.
Britain’s main share index fell behind European rivals on Monday in response to a rise in sterling which hit companies that earn money in dollars such as the mining and energy sectors.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent to 7,507.89 points, with the biggest dollar-earning stocks, miners and oil majors, the worst-performing as sterling gained against the US currency.
Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell also fell.
Also among the top fallers was easyJet, down 2.1 per cent after HSBC cut its target price on the stock.
Spain remained the main focus of attention in Europe on Monday, with the country’s government saying it stood ready to intervene and reassert control over Catalonia, warning that the rebel region risks economic chaos if it presses ahead with its bid for independence.
“There is hope in the markets that independence will not be declared and the worst case will be avoided,” said Gautam Batra, head of investments at Mediolanum Asset Management.
On the corporate front, Airbus was the top loser in France, down 2.3 per cent after its chief executive warned a corruption investigation could lead to large corporate penalties.
Credit Agricole fell 1.2 per cent after its CEO indicated it would join the queue of potential suitors for Commerzbank should the German government want to sell its 15 per cent stake.
Wall Street was little changed in early afternoon trading as losses in healthcare stocks were offset by gains in technology shares, with the third-quarter earnings season looming.
US stocks have been on a tear this year, hitting new records almost every day in the past week, and the upcoming earnings reports will help justify the lofty valuations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.01 per cent, at 22,770.63 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.02 per cent. The S&P 500 dipped 0.05 per cent.
GE shares were under pressure after the conglomerate gave activist investment firm Trian Fund Management a board seat.
Medtronic dropped after the medical device maker said Hurricane Maria hurt second-quarter earnings and sales.
Tesla fell 2 after pushing back the unveiling of the big rig truck to mid-November.
- (Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg. )