European stock markets close flat but tech companies edge higher

Novo Nordisk among the climbers as its weight-loss injection Wegovy is launched in England

European shares ended flat on Monday as gains driven by optimism around China’s stimulus measures to revitalise its economy fizzled out, while Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk’s shares touched record highs. Stock market momentum was subdued as Wall Street was closed for a holiday.


The Iseq index slipped 0.4 per cent on a quiet Monday.

Ryanair edged 0.1 per cent higher after it said it flew a record 18.9 million passengers in August, up from 16.9 million a year earlier and up from 14.9 million in August 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. But it also revealed that some 63,000 of its passengers had their flights cancelled during last week’s air traffic control failure.

Building materials giant CRH fell 0.7 per cent to €52.58, while banks traded lower, with AIB down 1.4 per cent at €4.19 and Bank of Ireland ending 0.5 per cent lower at €9.04. Glanbia was also a faller, declining 1.2 per cent to €15.19.


Packaging group Smurfit Kappa slipped almost 0.5 per cent to €38.17.


The FTSE 100 index nudged down almost 0.2 per cent and the mid-cap FTSE 250 index closed less than 0.1 per cent lower on a flat day across European markets. Both indices had traded higher in early trading.

Shares of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) closed slightly lower, but had climbed 0.5 per cent earlier in the session on reported plans for a blockchain-based digital assets business.

Shares in Wizz Air rose 1.4 per cent after the low-cost airline said it flew almost a quarter more passengers in August compared to the same month last year. International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of Aer Lingus, also added 1.4 per cent.

Among other stocks Hammerson rose 2.3 per cent after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the mall operator’s stock.


The pan-European STOXX 600 index held steady at 457.96 points at close after touching near four-week highs earlier in the day.

Novo Nordisk rose 0.7 per cent to hit a record high intraday after NHS England made the Danish drugmaker’s weight-loss injection Wegovy available to patients. Novo, with a market capitalisation of $424.7 billion, unseated luxury heavyweight LVMH as Europe’s most-valuable listed company on Friday. LVMH slipped 0.4 per cent, paring initial gains and weighing on the STOXX 600.

Europe’s technology sector gained 0.5 per cent as shares of Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML rose 0.8 per cent, while Telecom Italia (TIM) advanced 3.5 per cent after Barclays upgraded the stock to “equal-weight” from “underweight”.

Miners finished up 0.6 per cent after rising nearly 2 per cent earlier in the session, as iron ore futures rallied on optimism over top steel producer China’s policy support for its struggling property sector.

China stepped up measures to boost the country’s faltering economy, with top banks paving the way for further cuts in lending rates and sources saying Beijing plans further action, including relaxing restrictions on home purchases.

Rising European bond yields also kept a lid on gains. German inflation and euro zone gross domestic product numbers due later in the week will act as major tests of the European economy’s health ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy meeting on September 14th.

European stocks ended the last week of August higher, erasing some losses during the month as recent economic data fuelled expectations that major central banks were nearly done with their interest rate hikes.

Friday’s data showing a jump in US unemployment rate cemented bets that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting later this month.

New York

US markets were closed Monday for Labor Day.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics