Stocks retreat amid growing trade tensions

Apple becomes world’s first trillion dollar company

Apple became the world’s first trillion dollar company on Thursday. Photograph: Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

A sell-off in European shares extended on Thursday with Germany's DAX taking the brunt of anxieties over trade tensions. Ireland's benchmark index outperformed the DAX, but had a worse day than Europe as a whole and the UK.

Britain’s top share index slid on Thursday, touching a one-week low as shares in heavyweight cyclicals dropped, though Rolls-Royce was a standout gainer after its results.

Meanwhile, in the US, Apple become the world’s first trillion dollar company.


Both the Iseq overall index and the smaller Iseq 20 index had an exceptionally poor day, falling 1.16 and 1.21 per cent respectively with all but two stocks on the Iseq 20 in the red.


Amid the confirmation that more strike action will take place in Ireland and with worries of a contagion, Ryanair dropped 3.26 per cent on higher than usual volume to €13.06.

It was also a bad day for Ireland's two largest banks, both of which produced results earlier this week. Bank of Ireland dropped 1 per cent to €7.415 while AIB fell 0.81 per cent to €4.88.

Iseq heavyweight CRH was also a laggard, dipping 0.91 per cent to €28.24.

Only the property names improved on the day on the Iseq 20. Commercially focused Green Reit advanced 0.79 per cent to €1.54 while Hibernia Reit, which has a portfolio mainly comprised of commercial property with some residential plays, improved 0.41 per cent to €1.46. Both had lower than usual volume.

Baking group Aryzta hit yet another record low on Thursday, falling 6.37 per cent on its Irish listing to €11.47.


The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the session down 1 per cent points, accelerating losses after the Bank of England raised interest rates as expected.

Rolls-Royce was the top FTSE gainer, up more than 7 per cent after giving a half-year update.

Results also propelled shares in London Stock Exchange higher. The exchange operator was up 3.2 per cent after reporting a 21 per cent rise in first-half adjusted operating profit to £480 million.

A weaker oil price put pressure on oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell while heavyweight miners Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton fell between 2.2 per cent to 3.6 per cent as the underlying price of copper declined.


The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.8 per cent to a one-week low as investors sold risky assets on President Donald Trump’s threat to increase US tariffs on Chinese imports.

Germany's top index, the most sensitive to trade, dropped 1.5 per cent as heavyweights like Siemens tumbled.

Siemens, which makes everything from turbines to trains, fell 4.7 per cent after reporting lower than expected revenues, though its profit slightly beat expectations.

BMW outperformed, ending down 0.4 per cent, after it reported a smaller-than-expected 6 per cent decline in second quarter operating profit. It also brushed off concerns about new anti-pollution rules and global trade tensions which caused rival Daimler to warn on profits. Daimler fell 1.4 per cent.

France's Amundi jumped 5.4 per cent after reporting higher second-quarter profits, benefiting from an inflow of new client money.

Shares in Altice Europe, the debt-ridden telecoms and cable group, sank 16.3 per cent after reporting that margins suffered when it pushed on with aggressive promotions in France in the second quarter.

New York

Apple became the first US company to top $1 trillion in market value on Thursday, leading a rebound in technology stocks that helped Wall Street pare losses and turned the Nasdaq positive.

Tesla jumped 9.5 per cent after the electric car maker convinced investors that it was able to produce positive cash flow and turn a profit.

DowDuPont fell 3.1 per cent after the chemical producer said it expects higher raw material costs to hit all its units for the rest of the year.

Shares of TripAdvisor and Cognizant slipped after their earnings failed to impress investors.

– Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

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