Earnings and trade anxiety set the tone on stock markets, amid a mixed slate of results. The FTSE 100 in London rose after commodity stocks were boosted by surging oil prices and merger & acquisition (M&A) activity, but European shares ended the day flat, while Wall Street also lingered in the red.
The Iseq finished up just 0.1 per cent on a day of mixed fortunes for its biggest stocks. Ryanair struggled, ending the session down 1.4 per cent at €15.50, as higher oil prices weighed on the airline and investors digested an analyst downgrade. By contrast, cement-maker CRH advanced 1.9 per cent to €27.82.
Ferry company Irish Continental Group rose 2.3 per cent to €5.78, while property stocks Green Reit and Hibernia Reit advanced 1.2 per cent to €1.49 and 0.7 per cent to €1.47 respectively.
Dalata Hotel Group neared all-time highs, closing up 0.5 per cent at €6.42.
However, food group Aryzta lost 4.75 per cent to €18.25 as the market responded badly to the departure of European chief Dermot Murphy. Financial services group IFG ended 10.3 per cent lower at €1.65, on light volume, one day after it was announced that its chief executive and chairman are to step down.
The UK’s top share index rose as the rise for crude oil prices boosted commodity stocks and Shire’s shares jumped as bid talk heated up.
Shares in Shire jumped 5.9 per cent as Botox maker Allergan and Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical entered competing talks to acquire it, in a deal set to top $60 billion.
Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP were both up around 1.5 per cent as oil prices hit their highest in over three years after a report that top exporter Saudi Arabia was pushing for higher prices.
Engineering giant Weir Group jumped 6.2 per cent after the firm agreed to acquire US mining tools maker ESCO for $1.05 billion.
Advertising giant WPP gained 3.6 per cent as results for rival Publicis helped improve sentiment.
There was also disappointing news on the earnings front, though, with the results of Philip Morris in the US triggering falls across the tobacco sector in Europe. British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands shed 5.4 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.
Debenhams fell 5.7 per cent after the department store group cut its dividend and warned on its full-year outlook for the second time in four months.
Advertising group Publicis and industrial stocks led European shares on Thursday as strong results spurred them higher, but the main indexes stalled, showing signs of fatigue after a two-day rally.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended flat, while Germany’s Dax lost 0.17 per cent and in France the Cac 40 was up just 0.21 per cent.
Paris-listed advertising group Publicis rose 7.3 per cent, boosting the media sector, after its first-quarter sales beat expectations.
Industrial groups also shone, with Swiss industrial equipment maker ABB rising 4.6 per cent after reporting its best start to the year since 2015, while rival Siemens rose 1.4 per cent.
Results from Nestle and Unilever reignited concerns about large consumer goods firms’ pricing power . Unilever declined 2.1 per cent and Nestle ended up 0.2 per cent.
Tech stocks also held the Stoxx back, with chipmakers AMS , Siltronic, STMicro, and ASML down between 3 and 6 per cent after Taiwan Semiconductor reported weaker than expected results.
US stocks were on track to end lower for the first time in four days as technology shares came under pressure from trade and earnings concerns.
Treasuries hit the lowest since February amid inflation worries, while tech shares slumped after Taiwan Semiconductor’s disappointing forecast roiled chipmaker stocks.
China’s request for concessions from Qualcomm to acquire NXP Semiconductors ratcheted up tensions over trade. Earnings misses from Procter & Gamble and Philip Morris weighed on consumer staples. – Reuters / BloombergTags: Allergan, Aryzta, British American Tobacco, Business, Dalata Hotel Group, Debenhams, Imperial Brands, Market News, Markets, Philip Morris, Publicis, Qualcomm, Ryanair, Unilever