Trade fears end run of weekly gains for European shares

Dublin market follows other bourses lower, with Kingpsan and Aryzta among the losers

European stocks slipped again on Friday and put an end to five straight weeks of gains as fears about an economic slowdown in the euro zone and a potential full-blown China/US trade war added to disappointing earnings from blue chips.

Losses deepened after Wall Street opened in the red, casting a further shadow over the rally that has been lifting markets since shortly after Christmas.


The Dublin market ended unchanged at 5832.59 on Friday with low volumes all round.

Insulation manufacturer Kingspan was 3 per cent lower at €36.62 after peer Rockwall pulled back full-year forecasts.


Cairn Homes was up almost 6 per cent to €1.25 as it rebounded from an 8 per cent decline the previous day.

Ryanair had a reasonable day but this tailed off later on as it followed other European airlines lower to close flat at €11.11.

Other movers on the day included Smurfit Kappa, down 1.3 per cent, Aryzta, which lost 2.7 per cent, and C&C, down 1.8 per cent


The FTSE 100 index ended 0.3 per cent lower, and the FTSE 250 slipped 0.8 per cent, extending losses from the last session when the Bank of England slashed its economic growth forecasts amid Brexit uncertainty.

Outperforming the main bourse, Ocado added 3.5 per cent after having lost more than a £1 billion in market value over the last two days following a fire at its robotic distribution centre.

SSE, one of Britain's "Big Six" energy suppliers, ended slightly lower after cutting its profit target. A Citigroup rating downgrade dragged its peer Centrica down 2 per cent.


The pan-European STOXX 600 lost 0.5 per cent on the day and 0.4 per cent on the week, with Germany’s exporter-heavy DAX sustaining heavy losses among regional bourses on Friday and losing a little over 1 per cent.

Among disappointing trading updates was Belgium's Umicore, which lost 7.3 per cent after saying it expected 2019 growth to be hit by subdued demand in cars and consumer electronics, and R&D costs.

Tata Motors warned that Jaguar Land Rover would swing to a loss due to weak sales. That news weighed on car suppliers Valeo and Faurecia, down 2.6 to 3 per cent. Adding to the negativity around autos, German car wiring supplier Leoni sank 32 per cent after delivering a significant miss to fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

Shares of German online payments firm Wirecard continued to nosedive after reports of misdeeds at its Singapore unit and a raid by local authorities. Shares were down almost 17 per cent on Friday, with the company having lost about €9 billion since allegations were first published late in January.


US stocks fell for the third straight day on Friday, as scepticism over the United States and China reaching a trade deal before a looming deadline added to concerns over slowing global growth.

Amazon was down 2.5 per cent in early trading to $1,574.34 after reports that it is reconsidering its plan to build a corporate campus in New York after facing a wave of opposition.

Electronic Arts surged to its biggest gain since 2017 after the video game maker said its latest release, Apex Legends, attracted 10 million users in 72 hours. Shares climbed 11 per cent, while rivals Take-Two Interactive, Activision Blizzard and GameStop were all lower.

Coty surged 27.05 per cent – the most on the S&P 500 – after the cosmetics maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Mattel gained 24.19 per cent after the toymaker posted a surprise quarterly profit as it benefited from a makeover of its iconic Barbie doll.

Additional reporting: Reuters

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist