Trade war fears ease on news that Trump will meet Xi

Brexit fears may be behind falls for construction-related companies like Kingspan

US president Donald Trump. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US president Donald Trump. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

 

News that US president Donald Trump will meet his Chinese opposite number Xi Jinping at a G20 summit eased fears of a trade war and steadied European shares on Wednesday.

DUBLIN

Hits to the banks and some leading stocks left Dublin’s benchmark Iseq index trailing by 0.63 per cent at 5,836.07.

Permanent TSB tumbled almost 6 per cent on a day that investors ditched Irish banks. The mortgage lender’s shares slid 5.8 per cent to close at €1.582 after hitting a one-year low of €1.55 earlier in the day.

Dealers in Dublin noted that the stock had been drifting for several days, albeit on trades involving small amounts of shares. “There have been sellers out there for a while, but today it gathered a bit more momentum to the downside,” said one.

The Republic’s other finance institutions were out of favour also. Bank of Ireland fell 3.45 per cent to €5.60. AIB fared a little better, slipping 1.04 per cent to €3.794.

Among the bigger companies, building materials giant and index heavyweight CRH ended 0.69 per cent off at €24.31 after rival Lafarge Holcim predicted that sales growth would slow next year.

In a related industry, insulation specialist Kingspan shed 3.83 per cent to close at €37.70.

Traders said there was no stock-specific reason for the fall, but noted that some construction-related companies with an exposure to the UK have suffered recently on concerns about Brexit’s potential impact.

Ryanair closed 0.55 per cent up to €11.865, bucking a trend that saw both low-cost rival Easyjet and Aer Lingus-owner International Airlines Group lose altitude.

Bookie Paddy Power Betfair also outperformed its sector, which was rather flat on Wednesday, advancing 1.3 per cent to €79.55.

The market’s three real-estate investment trusts all made slight gains. Green Reit led the way, finishing 0.72 per cent ahead at €1.40, Hibernia added 0.46 per cent to €1.32 while Irish Residential Properties inched 0.42 per cent forward to €1.436.

LONDON

The blue-chip Ftse 100 closed down 0.2 per cent after opening gains ran out of steam, with Brexit worries keeping a lid on investors’ risk appetite.

Ryanair rival Easyjet dropped 4.88 per cent to 1,159p sterling after Brexit fears prompted analysts at European investment adviser Kepler Cheuvreux to downgrade the stock to hold.

Aer Lingus parent International Consolidated Airlines’ Group shed 3.74 per cent to 632.4p.

The UK’s departure from the EU hit house builders. Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Berkeley Group and Barratt Development fell 2.8-4.7 per cent.

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin fell 3.2 per cent, one of the biggest declines on the Ftse 250, as analysts predicted downgrades to earnings as commission fees wane and costs increase, even after in-line results.

On the small-cap index, eateries chain Restaurant Group was the biggest faller, down 15 per cent after its shareholders approved its proposed acquisition of noodle chain Wagamama.

EUROPE

Franco-Swiss cement maker Lafarge Holcim fell 1.73 per cent to 44.82 Swiss francs after predicting slower sales growth but higher profitability next year.

The news had a slight knock-on effect on its Italian competitor Buzzi, which dipped 0.5 per cent to €16.80.

Steel pipe manufacturer Tenaris was down 7.1 per cent after an Argentine federal judge charged Paolo Rocca, chief executive of Tenaris parent Techint in connection with a corruption case.

Yogurt producer Danone fell 1.5 per cent after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to “sell”, saying it believed the consensus and the company’s guidance were optimistic.

US

Wall Street extended gains after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted at an easing of interest rate policy.

Salesforce. com beat analysts’ predictions and forecast better-than-expected 2020 revenue, sending its shares up 8.4 percent. Microsoft surpassed Apple in value, its shares rising 3.2 per cent, as the Windows software maker benefited from optimism about demand for cloud-computing services.

Tiffany & Co shares dropped 11.3 per cent after the luxury retailer missed quarterly sales estimates on slowing Chinese demand. Additional reporting – Reuters