Markets muted ahead of interest rate decisions

Investors swerve risky bets as they awaited news on US and EU interest rates

Market were muted as investors awaited the Fed decision on interest rates and the European Central Bank’s announcement on the same issue on Thursday. The Federal Reserve held interest rates at a 22-year high, but most officials forecast that the US central bank would implement 75 basis points worth of cuts next year.


Hotel group Dalata dominated the news after announcing that revenues would break €600 million this year. Shares in the owner of the Maldron and Clayton hotels ended the day 2.9 per cent ahead at €4.42 after hitting a high of €4.455 in the afternoon.

Insulation and building materials specialist Kingspan ended the day 1.15 per cent down at €73.96.

Ryanair added 0.38 per cent to close at €18.61. Traders remarked that the Irish group outperformed its industry as many airline shares bar those of low-cost rival EasyJet suffered.


Insurer FBD Holdings climbed 2.73 per cent to €11.30. Housebuilder Cairn shed 2.7 per cent to €1.226, while rival Glenveagh dipped 0.7 per cent to €1.138.


London’s bluechip FTSE-100 edged up 0.1 per cent after figures indicated that the British economy shrank in October as the high cost of living and rising interest rates continued to bite.

Ladbroke’s and Coral owner Entain climbed 5 per cent to 846.60 pence sterling as the betting group said chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen would step down from the group with immediate effect.

Aer Lingus and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group dropped 2 per cent to 155.9p on a tough day for airlines. Budget carrier Wizz Air slipped 2.47 per cent to 1,935 but EasyJet bucked the trend, closing steady on 490.7p.

B&M European Value Retail dropped 6.3 per cent to 562.8p after SSA Investments sold about 2.8 per cent of the cut-price chain’s shares by placing them at a discount of nearly 3 per cent.


Analysts gave European markets a chemical boost on an otherwise quiet day where investors mostly swerved big bets as they waited for central bankers on either side of the Atlantic to decide on interest rates.

Chemical giant BASF gained 4.4 per cent to €47.60, while acrylics and adhesives manufacturer Arkema added 5.5 per cent to €96.38 after analysts at UBS upgraded their ratings, pushing the chemical sector to the top of the Stoxx gainers’ list, up 1.1 per cent.

Healthcare stocks also benefited, climbing 0.9 per cent, with pharmaceuticals group and leading diabetes treatment developer Novo Nordisk bouncing back 1.6 per cent to 671.80 Danish kroner following a slide on Tuesday.

Air France KLM slipped 3.2 per cent at €12.19, while Germany’s Lufthansa shed 2.8 per cent to €7.99 on a day when air travel stocks were out of favour with investors.


Wall Street’s main indexes gained early on Wednesday after new data indicated inflation pressures were easing ahead of the Federal Reserve’s final monetary policy decision of the year, where it is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged.

Pfizer dropped 9.6 per cent to a 10-year low after the drug-maker, which has a large Irish presence, forecast 2024 revenue below Wall Street’s expectations.

Tesla fell 3.2 per cent as the automaker will lose up to $7,500 in federal tax credits for some Model 3 vehicles. It also said it would recall more than two million vehicles in the US fitted with its Autopilot system.

Southwest Airlines slid 5.8 per cent after the carrier raised its forecast for fourth-quarter fuel costs. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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