European markets up slightly despite concern over French election

C&C and Bank of Ireland fall in Dublin while Aer Lingus parent IAG has more gains

European shares edged marginally higher, reversing early falls, while uncertainty over the forthcoming French presidential elections also simmered.


Shipping and transport group Irish Continental was the biggest gainer on Ireland's benchmark index, finishing 2 per cent higher at €5.26. Dealers said that strong freight figures from Dublin Port led to confidence in the stock.

Low-cost carrier Ryanair's Iseq listing ended the day unchanged at €15.34 despite strong passenger figures from German flagship carrier Lufthansa.

C&C Group was the biggest mover on the Iseq index, ending the day down 2.1 per cent at €3.72.


Bank of Ireland again performed poorly despite Minister for Finance Michael Noonan's signal that the salary for the next chief executive of the bank may breach the State-imposed pay cap. The stock closed down 2.05 per cent to €0.24

Irish Residential Properties ended up 1.46 per cent at €1.25. Despite the company's failure to get planning permission for the latest phase of its Sandyford site, the stock is said to have decent buying strength due to its exposure to both the residential and rental market.

Kingspan Group also ended marginally up by 0.09 per cent at €29.41, not appearing to gain from the success of Balfour Beatty.


London's FTSE 100 index closed up 0.23 per cent on the day. International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of Aer Lingus, had another day of gains on the back of Lufthansa's passenger figures. The stock closed up 1.9 per cent at 539 pence sterling.

IAG announced plans to expand its new low-cost, long-haul airline Level to other European cities, after a successful first month that has seen bookings of the Barcelona-based service top 100,000.

EasyJet benefited from Lufthansa's announcement and ended up 2.08 per cent at 1,078p.

Royal Bank of Scotland was the biggest loser on the FTSE 100, closing down 1.88 per cent at 234.5p.


Balfour Beatty was the biggest gainer on Europe's Stoxx 600 index after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral". The stock closed up 5.84 per cent at 286.4p.

It was another day of losses for Dialog Semiconductor after reports that tech giant Apple may look to cease doing business with the Anglo-German chipmaker. However, the stock pared losses towards the end of trading, finishing the day down 14.37 per cent at €40.91. Broker Bankaus Lampe cut its rating on the chipmaker to "sell" from "buy".

Tech stocks were the biggest sectoral losers, down 0.68 per cent on the back of Dialog’s losses.

Banking stocks continued their fall, with Banco Popular the biggest loser, down 9.67 per cent. On Monday, the bank said it was considering another capital hike to clean up its balance sheet and would consider a merger deal.

A rise in oil stocks, however, provided support, with the sector up 0.63 per cent.

Luxury goods group LVMH hit a record high, sending its shares up 1.15 per cent near the top of the CAC 40. This happened after the company reported a surge in first-quarter sales that beat analysts' forecasts.

French luxury retailer Kering did not follow suit and closed down 0.02 per cent.


US stocks extended losses on Tuesday, setting up for their worst day in three weeks in a broad decline as mounting geopolitical tensions drove investors to safe-haven assets.

Prices of safe-haven gold rose more than 1 per cent, up the most in almost a month. Investors also ditched riskier assets for the Japanese yen and US treasuries.

A rally in financial shares has fizzled recently as investors fret over lofty valuations and Trump’s ability to make good on his pro-growth promises.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors was lower. Financials were the biggest losers.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo were the top drags on the S&P, while Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan weighed the most on the Dow.

The dollar softened, while oil prices eased from five-week highs.

– Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business