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Ryanair and H&M lead European equities lower

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Global equities painted a mixed picture on Friday with Ireland’s benchmark index underperforming its European counterparts. The Irish stock exchange overall index closed down by 0.52 per cent while, across the pond, Britain’s major index climbed higher, reversing earlier losses thanks to a sliding pound and buoyant oil stocks.

Across Europe, Ryanair and H&M were the biggest losers with the former announcing that it would recognise unions. H&M meanwhile, issued a disappointing trading update.

In the US, indexes rose, driven by gains in shares of banking and healthcare companies.

Dublin
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ryanair was the biggest loser on Ireland’s benchmark index on the last day of the trading week.

Following an announcement that Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers would recognise unions, the stock fell by 8.51 per cent to trade at €15. One analyst said the news adds complexity and uncertainty to the stock. The company’s market capitalisation was cut to the tune of around €1.7 billion has a result of the sell off. Shares in the budget airline haven’t fallen as much in a single day since the Brexit vote in the UK in 2016.

On a more positive note, Kingspan traded up by 2.42 per cent on Friday after announcing the planned purchase of a Barcelona-based Synthesia group for around €250 million. The insulation group also said it had committed more than €620 million to 10 acquisitions so far this year.

Homebuilder Cairn Homes also had a good day, closing up near all-time highs at €1.90, up by 2.15 per cent.

Banks, too, closed up with AIB rising by 1.45 per cent to €5.59 and Bank of Ireland touching the €7 mark and eventually closing up marginally by 0.3 per cent at €6.988.

London
The FTSE 100 edged up 0.6 per cent, closing the week up 1.2 per cent, having hit its highest level in a month on Wednesday.

Oil majors Shell and BP propelled the index higher as crude prices recovered, lifted by the Forties pipeline outage in the North Sea.

Financial stocks fell, continuing a slide from the previous session as investors’ enthusiasm around bank stocks dissipated.

Sky rose 2.8 per cent, the biggest FTSE gainer, after striking a deal with BT to carry each other’s channels. BT also gained 1.4 per cent.

Small-cap LED lighting maker Luceco sank 45 per cent after the firm said financial controller Ian Pritchard resigned after misvaluing the company’s stock. The error resulted in an unexpected weakening of the gross margin, leading to a £3.5 million reduction in profit after tax.

Europe
The pan-European STOXX 600 lost 0.2 per cent at the end of the session and posted a 0.3 per cent fall over the week as resurfacing worries over political risk spurred profit-taking and offset continued optimism in the region’s economic recovery.

H&M plunged 13 per cent, leading losers on the STOXX, after the world’s second largest fashion retailer reported an unexpected drop in quarterly sales as fewer shoppers visited its stores.

Another outstanding faller was Dealz-owner Steinhoff, down 6.4 per cent. More than $10 billion has been wiped off Steinhoff’s market value in the last two weeks following its disclosure of accounting irregularities and its chief executive’s exit.

On the winning side, shares of Belgian biotech Galapagos topped the STOXX, rising 8.9 per cent after announcing its partnership with pharmaceutical group Gilead.

New York
Costco rose after the retailer reported upbeat results and pushed up the S&P Consumer Staples index by 1.15 per cent.

The S&P 500 and the Dow were on track to record four weeks of gains in a row, while the Nasdaq was set to post its first rise in three weeks.

Healthcare stocks such as Pfizer, Medtronic, Thermo Fisher, Express Scripts and Abbvie rose while Oracle’s shares slipped after the company’s forecast for the current-quarter cloud revenue growth missed estimates and the second quarter sales in the business disappointed.

– Additional reporting: Reuters

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