Business Irish

Wednesday 18 October 2017

European shares gain but Iseq dips

An investor reacts in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. Photo: Reuters
An investor reacts in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. Photo: Reuters

European shares steadied at the close yesterday, with stronger pharmaceutical and banking stocks offsetting a slump in companies such as Amec Foster and Berendsen.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended flat in percentage terms after moving in and out of positive territory several times during the day, with healthcare stocks leading sectoral gainers as they recovered from recent losses.

However, UK engineering firm Amec Foster sank more than 20pc, the worst performer in the STOXX 600 index, after saying that 2016 and 2017 trading would be in line with its board's expectations.

"Amec Foster's strategy review revealed the extent of the work that needs to be done to keep the business on an even keel. Today's announcement suggests that even with a slightly improved oil price, it's going to be a long, slow climb," said Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. Ireland's Iseq Overall Index slipped 0.69pc to 5,921.46. Shares in Bank of Ireland ended the session 2.6pc higher at 19.3 cent, cheered by data that showed the UK economy grew by 0.5pc in the third quarter, defying Brexit gloom. The company has a significant chunk of its business in the UK.

Permanent tsb rose 1.7pc to €2.38 as it sold the remainder of its UK loan book to a Cerberus affiliate.

Shares in Bulmers-maker C&C fell 2.5pc to €3.50 as it felt the chill wind of sterling's decline since June. The company said its revenues and profits were hit in the first half because of it, but that volumes of core brands performed well.

The UK's FTSE-100 was buoyed by that post-Brexit vote GDP data. It closed up 0.41pc. Germany's DAX was flat, as was France's CAC-40.

Reuters

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