Weaker oil prices and banks drag down European markets

US equities rise slightly despite investor caution ahead of presidential election

European equities fell for a sixth straight session on Monday, with energy shares tracking weaker crude oil prices and financial stocks losing ground. Europe’s STOXX 600 fell 0.5 per cent, concluding its second month of losses.

In the United States, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were slightly higher on Monday afternoon as a raft of deals lifted sentiment, even as investors remained cautious ahead of the outcome of the US election next week.

DUBLIN

Trading volumes were brisk on the Iseq, considering it was a bank holiday, with €220 million worth of shares changing hands, comparable to a normal working day. The index closed the session down slightly by 0.33 per cent.

The index was weighed by negative performances from many of its larger stocks. Tullow Oil fell by close to 5 per cent, as the stock tracked a fall in crude prices.

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Iseq stalwarts, Smurfit Kappa and Kerry Group, also fell, 1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

Banana importer Fyffes and insulation giant Kingspan, both up 2 per cent, were among the top performers in Dublin.

LONDON

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.6 per cent by the close.

Shares in WPP rose 4 per cent on Monday and posted their biggest daily gain in four months. WPP, the world's largest advertising group, reported results in line with expectations .

However, investors were less optimistic about some forthcoming earnings. The top fallers were Shire, which reports results on Tuesday, and Next, whose results are due on Wednesday, down 2.8 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.

The FTSE 100 index has posted a fifth month of gains in a row for the first time since early 2013. The index has been buoyed by a rally in banks and mining companies.

FTSE 350 banking sector hitting its highest level for the year. Banks were boosted on Monday by last week's well-received earnings from Barclays and Lloyds, with the

The more domestically exposed FTSE 250 index fell 0.6 per cent, and was down 1.8 per cent for the month of October. It has been weighed down by a spate of profit warnings and big declines from companies including Berendsen, Cobham, Senior and Keller.

EUROPE

Spain's benchmark Ibex index, which has shown resilience during months of political gridlock, fell 0.6 per cent after lawmakers agreed to grant conservative leader Mariano Rajoy a second term as prime minister.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Oil and Gas index fell 1.5 per cent, the top decliner, as crude dropped more than $1 a barrel to hit one-months low on doubts about Opec’s planned production cut and a build in US crude inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub.

Swiss chemicals company Sika surged 12 per cent to a record high after saying it had won the latest round in a takeover battle with Saint-Gobain, whose shares were down 1 per cent. Sika was the biggest Stoxx gainer.

Swedish measurement technology firm Hexagon fell 10 per cent, the top faller, after its top executive, Ola Rollen, was detained under investigation over suspected insider trading in Norway. Rollen denied the accusation.

NEW YORK

Heading into afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial average was little changed, weighed down by a 3 per cent fall in Nike following a Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgrade.

The FBI’s review of newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server added to uncertainty over US presidential elections, weighing on the market.

Dow component General Electric was up 0.38 per cent at $29.33 after the company said it would merge its oil and gas business with oilfield services provider Baker Hughes. Baker Hughes was down 4.7 per cent at $56.35.

Level 3 Communications rose 5.1 per cent to $56.78 after CenturyLink said it would buy the company in a deal with an equity value of about $24 billion. CenturyLink fell 12.4 per cent to $26.63.

Lumber Liquidators fell as much as 15.5 per cent to $15.62, its biggest percentage drop in 6 months, after the company said it could not provide a timeline for potential settlements with regulators, or an outlook for its business.

(Additional reporting: Reuters)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column