Trade concerns fail to halt modest market gains
Iseq overall index again underperformed European peers, up 0.12 per cent
US tariffs on Chinese goods took effect on Friday. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Global markets shrugged off worries over global trade on Friday after US tariffs on Chinese goods took effect.
The escalating trade dispute between the two world powers appeared factored in to pricing, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 closing up 0.2 per cent.
US stocks also rose, with Biogen performing well after an Alzheimer’s drug in midstage trial showed promise.
Ireland’s benchmark Iseq overall index again underperformed markets on Friday, inching up 0.12 per cent on the day.
Cider maker C&C posted another strong day on Friday after holding its agm the previous day. The company, which said cider volumes had improved with the strong weather, increased 2.07 per cent to €3.45 and was the largest gainer on the Iseq 20 on the last day of the trading week.
Banks were, as expected, the fallers on the day as a result of the Central Bank announcing that lenders would be required to hold additional capital of 1 per cent in order to protect themselves in the event of a sudden downturn. AIB fell the most, by 0.83 per cent to €4.80, while Bank of Ireland dropped 0.37 per cent to €6.72. Permanent TSB bucked the trend, rising 0.41 per cent to €1.97, albeit on very light volume.
Light volume was, in fact, a feature of the trading day, with AIB the most heavily traded share of the day.
Ryanair clawed back some ground after a turbulent few days with ongoing strike worries negatively affecting the stock. The largest airline in Europe by passenger numbers closed up 0.79 per cent at €15.27.
Iseq heavyweight CRH also recorded a positive day, ending up 0.58 per cent at €30.525.
The blue-chip Ftse 100 index was up 0.2 per cent, while mid-caps were flat in percentage terms.
On the day, shares in more defensive sectors such as telecoms, utilities and healthcare added the most points to the Ftse, suggesting investors were still cautious about jumping into more cyclical sectors such as financials and energy, which have been particularly hit by the uncertainty caused by tension in global trading relationships.
ITV shares were the biggest individual gainers on the index, up 4.3 per cent. The UK broadcaster was boosted by a double upgrade from Société Générale, whose analysts moved their rating on the stock to “buy” from “sell”, saying the majority of the headwinds ITV faced had now passed.
However, a more negative note from Barclays on UK motor insurers hit shares in Direct Line, which was among the biggest fallers with a 3.7 per cent decline, while a slew of price target downgrades from major brokers weighed on AB Foods, down 4.3 per cent.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.2 per cent at its close, while Germany’s exporter-heavy Dax rose 0.3 per cent.
Swedish lock maker Assa Abloy fell sharply, down 6.1 per cent, after reporting a one-off writedown of six billion crowns on its Chinese business.
Altice Europe jumped 3.7 per cent as speculation about potential mergers within the French telecoms industry are resurfacing, and French conglomerate Bouygues said it was ready to seize opportunities to beef up its telecoms business.
Germany’s Thyssenkrupp was up 2.4 per cent after its chief executive offered to step down, bowing to growing investor pressure for a more radical restructuring of the group.
Biogen jumped 15.6 per cent and was on track for its biggest percentage gain in more than seven years after the company and Japanese drugmaker Eisai said their Alzheimer’s drug showed promise in a mid-stage trial.
– Additional reporting: Reuters