Market fears over Delta variant cap gains

Iseq up marginally while bank stocks fall

European shares ended slightly higher on Friday on a boost from chipmakers, although gains were capped by weak bank stocks and growing concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

In the United States, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs as strong monthly payrolls data bolstered confidence in a labour market recovery, but stopped short of sparking fears about sooner-than-expected tapering by the US Federal Reserve.


The Iseq finished the session ahead by 0.32 per cent, with limp performances from most of its heavyweight stocks.

With bank stocks falling across Europe, AIB finished down 2.2 per cent to €2.15 per share. Bank of Ireland fared better, but was still behind at close 0.24 per cent to €4.58.


It was a poor session for most travel-related stocks as the potential impact of the Delta variant of coronavirus weighed on the sector. Datalex, which makes software for airlines, was down by 3.45 per cent to 70 cents per share. Irish Continental Group, which owns Irish Ferries, was down 2.8 per cent to €4.50

However, Ryanair was up by 2 per cent to €16.52 per share after it announced it carried 5.3 million passengers last month after it added extra flights to cash in on pent up demand for travel.


The FTSE 100 ended flat, dragged by weakness in banks and energy stocks, and posted a weekly loss pressured by concerns over surging Covid-19 infections in the UK.

Banks were the biggest drag. Energy stocks fell 0.8 per cent with oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell down 1.0 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively, tracking weaker crude.

Miners jumped 0.9 per cent and were the top gainers, with Anglo American among the top boosts to the blue-chip index.

Homebuilders gained 0.3 per cent and were among the biggest boosts on the index this week, up 1.94 per cent, as buyers rush to take advantage of the stamp-duty holiday which starts to taper from the start of July. Jefferies maintained its upbeat stance on UK homebuilders, lifting Barratt Developments and Bellway to "buy" from "hold".

After market hours on Thursday, JD Sports Fashion said its remuneration committee's chair would leave the board following a shareholder rebellion over management pay at Britain's biggest sportswear retailer. Its shares dropped 1.7 per cent on Friday.


France's SMCP fell 0.4 per cent, after the company along with Zara owner Inditex were the subject of an investigation as they are suspected of concealing "crimes against humanity" in China's Xinjiang region, according to a judicial source.

Volkswagen rose 0.2 per cent after its US arm said it sold more than 211,000 cars in the first half of 2021, its highest level for the period in nearly 50 years.

Shares in Denmark's Ambu tumbled 9.2 per cent to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after the single-use medical devices maker cut its profit outlook.

Dutch chipmaker ASML rose 1.4 per cent after Micron Technology said it plans to start using ASML EUV machines in production in 2024, while ASM International rose nearly 2.5 per cent as it forecast higher order intake in Q2.

Stockholm-listed Kindred Group jumped 6.2 per cent after announcing it's acquiring the remaining 66.6 per cent of shares in Relax Gaming, a B2B iGaming supplier.

New York

Tesla rose 0.6 per cent after it posted record vehicle deliveries for the second quarter that also beat Wall Street estimates.

Virgin Galactic Holdings jumped 6.7 per cent after the space tourism firm said billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson would travel to the edge of space on the company's test flight on July 11th, beating out fellow aspiring billionaire astronaut Jeff Bezos.

Didi Global slipped 6.3 per cent after China's cyberspace administration said it would conduct a new investigation into the Chinese ride-hailing giant to protect national security and the public interest. – Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times