Shares pause ahead of key central bank meetings

Paddy Power-owner Flutter rises on Wall Street debut

European shares paused on Monday as investors await a deluge of results from US megacaps this week, coupled with Federal Reserve and Bank of England policy meetings.

Meanwhile, Paddy Power-owner Flutter made its Wall Street debut after the gaming giant gave up its Dublin listing.


Strong trading volumes saw the Euronext Dublin rise by more than 1.1 per cent, pulled higher by Ryanair, which finished the session ahead by 4 per cent at €19.56 per share.

In a volatile session for the stock the airline’s share price opened 4 per cent lower after trimming its full-year profit forecast to between €1.85 billion and €1.95 billion from €2.05 billion. The gloom lifted somewhat after chief executive Michael O’Leary addressed concerns over Ryanair’s orders of Boeing aircraft during the mid-morning earnings call, traders in Dublin said.


FBD Insurance was the other big mover, advancing 1.3 per cent to €11.85, while Kingspan closed at €75.66, also up by 1.3 per cent.

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Trading in Irish bank stocks was somewhat softer than last week with AIB essentially flat on the session at €4 per share, while Bank of Ireland fell slightly to €8.32.


European stocks paused for breath on Monday with both the blue-chip Stoxx 50 and pan-European Stox 600 indices little changed by the closing bell in Dublin.

Among the biggest movers was Holcim, shares in which advanced by more than 4.3 per cent after the Swiss building materials manufacturer announced that it intends to spin out its North American operations into a separate US-listed entity.

Royal Philips, meanwhile, fell after the Dutch company said it was suspending sales of sleep apnoea devices and ventilators in the US.

German pharma and chemical giant Bayer slumped after its Monsanto unit was ordered by a Pennsylvania jury to pay more than $2.2 billion to a former user of the Roundup weed killer.


London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index was essentially flat on the session after touching two-week highs earlier in the day as energy stocks rose on escalating tensions in the Middle East.

Oil majors Shell and BP finished the session ahead by around 0.9 per cent amid an early session surge in crude prices following a drone attack on US forces in Jordan, which eased as the day wore on.

Shares in asset manager Schroders slipped 3.7 per cent after BNP Paribas downgraded the stock to “underperform”, pointing to pressures in its core business as flows remain anaemic and cost pressures stay high.

Vape distributor Chill Brands slumped 28.2 per cent after the UK government looked to ban the sale of disposable vapes to prevent their use by children. Vaping supplier Supreme fell 8.1 per cent.


On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.04 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.11 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.26 per cent. The S&P 500 has notched five all-time closing highs so far in January.

In its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares in Paddy Power-owner Flutter gained as much as 3.4 per cent to $212 (€196.18) in early trading. The gaming giant, which owns US betting platform FanDuel, has now cancelled its Irish listing and plans to move its primary listing from London to the US. The proposal will be put to shareholders in May.

Meanwhile, Microsoft advanced 0.8 per cent in advance of its quarterly earnings release on Tuesday. The tech giant, which through its partnership with Open AI piqued market interest about artificial intelligence in 2023, is expected to report a 15.8 per cent rise in quarterly revenues.

Results from other members of the Magnificent Seven – Alphabet, Apple, Meta and Amazon – are also due this week, in addition to heavyweights Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Qualcomm, Merck, Pfizer and Boeing.

Investors also await a press conference with US Fed chairman Jerome Powell and the statement by the US central bank after a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. – Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times