European shares climb as traders bet on end to interest rate increases

Sportswear companies among fallers after downbeat profit forecast from US retailer Foot Locker

European shares closed up but off their intraday highs in Wednesday’s trading session amid mounting evidence of slowing economic activity across the continent.

A survey showed a deeper-than-expected downturn in euro-zone business activity this month, particularly in Europe’s largest economy, Germany, but the weak data supported gains in markets as it prompted traders to firm up bets that the European Central Bank will finally pause hiking rates in September.

Meanwhile, strong gains for pharmaceutical company Roche boosted the Swiss stock index to a one-week high.


The Iseq closed 0.8 per cent higher in line with the positive trend across Europe, with the Dublin market supported by modest gains for several key stocks.


Flutter Entertainment was among the climbers, with the Paddy Power Betfair owner advancing 2.4 per cent to €163.60, while Ires Reit added 3.6 per cent to 95 cent. Building materials group CRH finished 0.5 per cent higher at €52.80 ahead of the release of its interim results on Thursday. Ryanair nudged up 0.2 per cent to €15.81.

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa went in the other direction, however, shedding 0.4 per cent to close at €36.16, while Bank of Ireland slipped 0.3 per cent to €9.11.


The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index closed up 1.1 per cent, as weak factory activity data fuelled expectations that the Bank of England may not have to hike interest rates for longer. Rate-sensitive real-estate investment trusts and housing stocks were among the top gainers on the day.

Industrial metal miners gained 1.5 per cent, tracking copper prices, on improved Chinese demand prospects and a weaker dollar.

Shares in Reckitt Benckiser climbed 0.9 per cent after the Dettol maker said chief financial officer Jeff Carr would retire in March 2024 and be replaced by Nike’s Shannon Eisenhardt.

JD Sports Fashion’s shares slid 5.4 per cent as US retailer Foot Locker cut its annual forecast and sparked a sector-wide sell-off.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.4 per cent higher, after gaining as much as 0.8 per cent to a one-week high intraday. The benchmark index is still set for its worst monthly decline this year.

Energy stocks dropped 1.1 per cent, tracking lower crude oil prices, while German sportswear companies Adidas and Puma dropped, on the back of Foot Locker’s decline.

The Swiss Market Index added 0.9 per cent, with Roche jumping 3.8 per cent after inadvertently publishing positive lung cancer drug trial data from an interim analysis, although more data will be needed to confirm efficacy.

Novo Nordisk gained 2.7 per cent. Reuters reported the Denmark-based healthcare firm hired Thermo Fisher as a second contract manufacturer for its hugely popular weight-loss drug Wegovy.

German 10-year bund yields, considered Europe’s benchmark, eased, while rate-sensitive real-estate stocks added 2.1 per cent.

New York

Wall Street’s main indices rose in early trading as shares of Nvidia jumped on hopes of another strong outlook from the chip designer which could reignite an artificial intelligence-powered rally in megacap growth stocks.

Rising bets that Nvidia’s revenue target will surpass Wall Street estimates pushed the chip designer’s stock to a record high on Tuesday. But analysts equally fear a wider sell-off if the company fails to match investor expectations. Shares of Nvidia were up 2.1 per cent. The company is expected to report quarterly results after markets close on Wednesday.

Sport retailers Nike and Under Armour fell 3.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively, after a downbeat profit forecast from Foot Locker, whose shares slumped 32.9 per cent.

Peloton Interactive shares plunged 22.5 per cent to a record low after the fitness equipment maker pushed back its cash-flow positive target. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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