European shares lost ground on Wednesday as concerns about whether the United States can avoid a debt default weighed on sentiment, along with a slew of downbeat corporate updates.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index dipped 0.2 per cent, with defensive sectors such as food and beverage, utilities and real-estate firms leading declines.
A cautious mood prevailed in global markets as US president Joe Biden looked set to continue talks with congressional leaders on raising the country’s debt limit later this week, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowing to avoid a default.
The Iseq All Share index edged 0.3 per cent higher to 8,658.88, with travel-related stocks among advancers. Dalata Hotel Group gained 2.7 per cent to €4.40, while ferries operator Irish Continental Group added 1.1 per cent to €4.70. Ryanair pushed 1.7 per cent higher to €16.34.
Ires Reit, the owner of about 4,000 homes, mainly apartments, dipped 1 per cent to €1.01, as investors in real-estate stocks across Europe focused on the impact of rising interest rates on valuations. Ires has been the subject of agitation by an activist shareholder in recent times, which has been pressing the company to put itself up for sale.
Banking stocks were mixed, with AIB up 0.1 per cent at €3.97, while Bank of Ireland dipped 0.4 per cent to €9.17.
London stocks closed lower, with the London Stock Exchange Group falling after an investor consortium sold shares in the market operator and British Land Company and JD Sports Fashion providing downbeat corporate updates.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent, down for the second consecutive day.
The London Stock Exchange Group slipped 2.7 per cent after US buyout firm Blackstone and Thomson Reuters sold shares worth around £2.7 billion (€3.11 billion) of the financial market operator.
JD Sports Fashion fell 4.3 per cent after the sportswear retailer reported lower annual profits.
British Land skidded 5.7 per cent after the real-estate firm reported a drop in its property valuations as high interest rates weighed on the sector.
Of Irish interest, pubs operator Mitchells & Butlers, in which billionaires John Magnier and JP McManus hold a significant stake, moved 2.6 per cent higher as it said that while supply chain costs were still a challenge they had begun to ease.
German lender Commerzbank fell 3.8 per cent after its net interest income forecast for the full year fell short of analysts’ expectations.
Euronext dropped 3 per cent after the stock exchange operator – which owns the Irish stock market – reported a fall in first-quarter revenue and income.
UBS rose 1.1 per cent after the Swiss bank said it expected a financial hit of about $17 billion from the takeover of Credit Suisse but also estimated a one-off gain from so-called negative goodwill of $34.8 billion.
Boosting Germany’s Dax, Siemens climbed 2.6 per cent after the engineering and technology group raised its full-year sales and profit guidance, while business software maker SAP added 0.8 per cent after raising its 2025 total revenue outlook and announcing a share buyback of up to €5 billion.
US stock indices were ahead in early afternoon trading as Western Alliance led a bounce among regional banks while cautious optimism set in about a potential breakthrough in the deadlock in Washington over the nation’s debt limit.
US regional banks rose, led by Western Alliance Bancorp as the lender’s deposit growth exceeded $2 billion and brokerage Bank of America Global Research resumed coverage of the bank with a buy rating.
Retailers Target and TJX Companies, owner of TJ Maxx, rose as their first-quarter figures best market expectations.
Shares of Tesla rose after its annual shareholder meeting. The company’s chief executive Elon Musk played down market rumours that he may step down from his role. The company also touched upon two new mass-market models the company is developing, and reaffirmed that deliveries of its long-delayed Cybertruck pickup would start this year. – Additional reporting: Reuters