Markets little changed as US inflation data holds few surprises

US consumer price index comes in marginally below expectations, with core prices as expected

Shares drifted on Wednesday as investors digested US inflation figures – likely to determine future interest rate moves – ensuring a slow day for most markets.


Trade was slow in Dublin, dealers said, with some leading stocks dipping, leaving the Irish index trailing by 0.25 per cent.

Packaging maker Smurfit Kappa slipped 1 per cent to €33.44, one of the biggest falls among the market’s heavyweights.

Insulation manufacturer Kingspan dipped 0.68 per cent to €61.42, while ingredients and convenience food specialist Kerry Group was 0.55 per cent off at €94.48.


Ryanair gained 0.35 per cent to €15.72. A European Union court ruled in favour of its challenge to state aid given to rival Lufthansa during Covid.

Among smaller stocks, AIB shed 1.48 per cent to €3.85, while its peer Bank of Ireland dipped 0.52 per cent to €9.52.


London stocks slipped for a second straight session on Wednesday amid investor caution ahead the Bank of England’s expected rate hike on Thursday.

Aircraft airframe maker Melrose Industries pledged to continue as a pure-play aerospace company after recently spinning off its automotive unit, while forecasting that full-year sales would match estimates, sending its shares 4.7 per cent higher to 444.7 pence sterling.

The move boosted the FTSE 350 aerospace and defence index by 1 per cent.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent, bogged down by a 0.5 per cent drop in healthcare firms as shares in Covid vaccine developer AstraZeneca fell marginally.

Online fashion seller Asos led a slide among midsized stocks as it shares tumbled 23.34 per cent after the group reported a £272.5 million loss for the six months ended February.


German drugmaker Evotec led Europe-wide Stoxx 600 after surging 12.9 per cent to €18.59 on news of a deal with Novartis.

The company’s Seattle-based subsidiary, Just-Evotec Biologics, will enter into a partnership with Novartis’s Sandoz to develop and produce medicines.

Airline Lufthansa shed 1 per cent to close at €9.20 on the day that rival airline won its challenge in the EU courts to the €9 billion state aid the German carrier received during the pandemic. Lufthansa has already repaid the money to Germany’s federal government.

Swiss-American company Alcon saw shares jump 7 per cent to 70.58 Swiss francs on better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

Sales at the contact lens maker rose to $2.33 billion (€2.12 billion), higher than the $2.23 billion anticipated by analysts.

The Stoxx 600, which covers leading shares across 18 European markets, was down 0.4 per cent just ahead of the close of business.


News that US prices rose at a slower rate than expected boosted tech stocks. Apple and Microsoft were about 0.6 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively as trade closed in Europe.

Shortly after 5.00pm Irish time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 136.11 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 33,425.70, the S&P 500 was up 2.17 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 4,121.34, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 69.54 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 12,249.09.

Livent added 5.4 per cent after Australian lithium miner Allkem agreed to merge with the US-based chemical manufacturer to create a $10.6 billion (€9.7 billion) business. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas