Trump’s Hong Kong move reignites China trade feud and roils markets

Providence biggest faller on Iseq on day of very thin trading volumes

European shares retreated from a four-year peak on Thursday as concerns about a US-China trade truce resurfaced after Donald Trump signed into law a bill supporting protesters in Hong Kong, angering Beijing. US markets remained closed for Thanksgiving.


The Iseq slipped marginally, down 0.2 per cent, on very thin trading volumes.

Providence Resources was the biggest faller, down 11.5 per cent to close at about 4 cents per share. The embattled stock suffered after French oil major Total withdrew from a licence held jointly with the Irish explorer off the southern coast.

Cairn Homes rose 0.5 per cent to €1.23 after it announced the sale of 150 homes in Maynooth to an institutional investor. Glenveagh Properties, another Irish-listed housebuilder, also rose, by 1.3 per cent to 80 cents per share.


Agrifood business Donegal Investment Group was the top gainer on the index, up 6.2 per cent to €12 per share. It reported results on Thursday with revenues up more than 11 per cent.


The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 0.2 per cent after four straight days of gains, with Vodafone giving up nearly 4 per cent and utility National Grid shedding almost 3 per cent as they traded without entitlement to a dividend pay-out.

The FTSE 250 once again climbed to a near 1-1/2 year high as it advanced 0.3 per cent. Leading gains almost single-handedly was Virgin Money UK, which soared 19 per cent on its best day ever. The meteoric rise came after provision for claims related to the PPI mis-selling scandal fell in line with its estimates. Analysts speculated a line has been drawn under the scandal

Other losers on the FTSE 100 included equipment rental firm Ashtead which gave up 2.6 per cent after a downgrade by HSBC.

But online grocer Ocado jumped 3.6 per cent after plans to open a first "mini" robotic warehouse in Bristol by early 2021 signalled that its warehouse technology can be rolled out more quickly and in a bigger range of locations.

Hornby shares increased by 2.5p to 35p after the model train business said it is back on track in its turnaround after the company narrowed its losses for the year.

Shares in guarantor lender Amigo Loans soared after the under-pressure company said it was making progress in restructuring its business and dealing with regulatory concerns. Shares closed 5p higher at 65p on Thursday.

Law firm Harcus Parker has written a so-called "letter before action" to insurance group Watchstone, formerly Quindell, claiming shareholders lost out due to misleading statements to the stock exchange. Shares in Watchstone closed down 1p at 144p.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.1 per cent after gaining for four straight sessions, as the US-China diplomatic standoff threatened to derail trade negotiations between the world’s top two economies.

Shares of trade-sensitive auto parts makers led declines on the index, shedding 0.8 per cent in their worst day in more than a week. Moving around the European bourses, the French Cac closed down 0.24 per cent and the German Dax closed down 0.31 per cent.

Munich-based Osram fell to a six-week low after suitor AMS's proxy solicitor warned hedge-fund holders that its takeover of the German lighting manufacturer is on the brink of failure unless they tender stock by December 5th.

Finnish company Nokian Tyres declined after being cut to hold from buy at Danske Bank, which said "the overall situation in the industry looks set to be weaker for longer."

Poland's Supreme Court sent the zloty and bank stocks tumbling in reaction to its first official verdict in a case over a foreign-currency mortgages. The court said that loans could be converted back to the zloty at an exchange rate that's unfavourable for the lenders. Bank Millenium fell almost 4 per cent, while Santander Polska was down about 3 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters/PA/Bloomberg

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times