Flurry of earnings fails to rally markets
European shares fell slightly yesterday as a flurry of corporate results failed to lift sentiment after a new wave of speculation about faster hikes in US interest rates soured risk appetite globally.
An hour after the open, the publication of the German business confidence index, which fell more than expected in February, and a downward revision in UK economic growth cemented the gloom, although a rebound on Wall Street from losses in the previous day helped shares come off lows.
In Dublin, the Iseq closed down slightly at 6,781.80. The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended down 0.2pc, having fallen as much as 1pc earlier in the session. The index remains down 5.7pc from the two-and-a-half year peak hit at the end of January.
"Stock markets are weaker today after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of their latest meeting last night," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
Barclays was the best-performing stock among blue-chips, rising 4.4pc after it pledged to restore its full dividend with a payout of 6.5 pence per share in 2018.
The earnings further buoyed optimism on British banks, a day after Lloyds reported its highest pre-tax profit since 2006.
Other financial companies had positive news, with French insurer AXA posting higher than expected 2017 net profit and Belgian financial services provider KBC boosted by solid performances in the Czech Republic and its international businesses including Ireland.
In the US, Snap got a taste of being on the wrong side of celebrity culture. Snap Inc's flagship platform has lost some lustre, according to reality star and social-media influencer Kylie Jenner, sending the shares down as much as 7.2pc and wiping out $1.3bn in market value.