European shares recoup losses but JD Sports shares plunge after profit warning

Ryanair arrests its slide with airline gaining 0.4% on Dublin listing

European shares recouped some losses on Thursday after hitting three-week lows in the previous session, with banks and utilities leading the charge as investors assessed the latest economic data across the continent.

But some retail stocks came under pressure as Britain’s JD Sports Fashion tumbled after lowering its full-year profit forecast.


The Iseq index recovered some of the ground lost during Wednesday’s Ryanair sell-off, adding 0.2 per cent in the session, with Ryanair itself finishing at €18.26. This marked a 0.4 per cent gain for the airline one day after a 4.9 per cent slide prompted by news that certain online travel agents stopped selling its flights in early December following legal and regulatory pressure.

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa rose again, closing at €35.84, up 0.4 per cent. Food group Glanbia advanced 2.5 per cent to €14.97, but Kerry Group finished fractionally lower at €77.98.


On a positive day for banking stocks, AIB climbed 2.3 per cent to €4.08, while Bank of Ireland added 2.5 per cent to close at €8.72.


The FTSE 100 rebounded after its weak start to the new year as Next shares touched a record high, with the blue-chip index rising 0.5 per cent after two straight days of losses.

Next jumped 5.8 per cent after the clothing retailer raised its profit forecast for the fifth time in eight months as it reported a bigger-than-expected rise in Christmas sales.

But JD Sports slumped 23 per cent after the sportswear giant issued a profit warning, citing tepid consumer spending that bruised peak season sales and led to heavy discounting.

Marks and Spencer, Primark-owner Associated British Foods and B&M European Retail are among the retailers set to release trading updates in the upcoming days.

UK’s midcap FTSE 250 index edged up 0.2 per cent after four consecutive days of losses.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.7 per cent higher. Retail sector stocks dropped, however, with the statement from JD Sports sending shares of German sportswear makers Adidas and Puma down 3 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively.

Technology stocks were also weaker, marking their fifth consecutive day of declines.

Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac 40 both added 0.5 per cent. German inflation rose in line with expectations in December due to base effects, while French consumer prices also rose in December, matching expectations.

A separate reading showed contraction in euro zone business activity continuing at the end of 2023. Focus will now shift to a preliminary inflation estimate of the broader euro zone due on Friday.

Leonardo gained 5.7 per cent after analysts at Bernstein upgraded its rating on the Italian defence and aerospace company., while shipping companies Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk extended gains to a fourth session, rising 14.8 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.


Wall Street rose in early trading, boosted by gains in financial stocks, while strong jobs data prompted investors to tweak their expectations of how early interest-rate cuts could begin.

The recovery in the three main US stock indexes follows a downbeat start to 2024, with the S&P 500 notching its worst two-day performance since late October as investors booked profits after a blistering rally last year.

Financials led gains among the S&P 500 sectors, underpinned by a 3.4 per cent advance in Allstate after Morgan Stanley lifted its rating on the insurer to “overweight”.

Apple slid 1.1 per cent after brokerage Piper Sandler downgraded the iPhone maker to “neutral” days after Barclays also cut its rating, while Walgreens Boots Alliance shed 6.4 per cent after the pharmacy giant nearly halved its dividend.

Dow component Merck added 2.4 per cent after analysts at TD Cowen upgraded the drugmaker to “outperform” on growth prospects. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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