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Irish shares dip as European traders enjoy May Day break

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Irish shares dipped on Monday, taking their cue from early weakness on Wall Street, as traders across continental European markets and much of Asia took the day off to enjoy May Day.

Markets were shut for holidays in many countries including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and India.

The Iseq index ended the session down 0.1 per cent at 6,797.37

DUBLIN
Smurfit Kappa was among the main decliners, falling 1.1 per cent to €34.98, as investors adopted a more cautious view on whether its unwanted suitor International Paper will mount a third bid for the Irish paper packaging group. Smurfit Kappa will unveil its latest quarterly figures and hold its annual general meeting on Friday.

CRH dropped 0.8 per cent to €29.28 to hand back some of its recent gains, which had come on the back of the group’s plans to buy back €1 billion of its stock over the next year.

Banking stocks were also mainly out of sorts, with Permanent TSB declining 0.2 per cent to €1.75 while Bank of Ireland dipped 0.2 per cent to €7.44.

Bucking the trend, Green Reit rose 0.8 per cent to €1.53 and Hibernia Reit gained 0.4 per cent to €1.49. CBRE’s latest commercial property update highlighted continued momentum across all areas of the Irish market, which helped to drive total returns by 6.8 per cent in the year to the end of March.

Applegreen added 2.2 per cent to €6.50, while Ryanair edged 1 per cent higher to €15.66.

LONDON
The FTSE 100 edged almost 0.2 per cent to 7.520.36 points, with the index’s heavy weighting of exporters helped as sterling dropped against other major currencies as a result of disappointing data showing the UK’s manufacturing output hit a 17-month low in April.

Sterling fell 1.2 per cent against the dollar and 0.5 per cent compared to the euro.

BP added 1.8 per cent after the oil giant reported a 71 per cent surge in first-quarter profits, as crude and gas prices gained.

Aviva advanced by 1.4 per cent as the insurer announced a £600 million (€680 million) shares buy-back as part of efforts to deploy £2 billion of excess capital. Alongside the buy-back, the group said £900 million will be spent on debt reduction and £500 million on bolt-on acquisitions, confirming figures released in March.

Food delivery group Just Eat gained 4.7 per cent after reporting revenues for the first-quarter.

Liberum analysts said that given the “very strong” trading update, Just Eat’s annual sales would probably be higher than expected.

Virgin Money’s shares soared as it hailed a “strong” performance at the start of the year. The company it posted rising mortgage lending and better-than-expected growth in savings deposits, sending its shares 6.5 per cent.

NEW YORK
Industrial and material shares paced US equity losses in early afternoon trading on Wall Street after a weak production reading added to concern economic growth is slowing. The dollar rallied and government bonds fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1 per cent to 23,904.38, the S&P 500 lost 0.5 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.1 per cent.

Pfizer stood out as a particularly weak spot, with the pharma group’s shares falling after the its latest quarterly revenue missed analysts expectations, amid disappointing sales of some blockbuster and generic drugs.

However, Apple advanced ahead of the iPhone maker reporting quarterly figures after the close of US trading on Tuesday.

Technology sector results so far – at least from the likes of Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, Samsung and SAP – have broadly beaten forecasts for the first quarter.

Boeing slipped after the airplane maker said it plans to buy plan-parts specialist KLX for about $3.2 billion (€2.7 billion).

Sportswear group Under Armour was also out of sorts after it reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss.

– Additional reporting, Bloomberg, Reuters

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