Spanish stocks lead European pull-back with worst day in six months

Dublin market also weaker as Dalata bounces back after sell-off earlier in the week

US and European stocks fell on Thursday, along with the dollar as political uncertainty in the United States sent investors in search of safer investments such as gold and the Japanese yen.

The Pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.5 per cent, weighed by financials, as stocks ended a two-day advance following Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s admission that the institution has not planned for a disorderly Brexit.

The Index was at its lowest in 21 months as Mr Carney said the central bank's forecasts are based on the assumption of a "smooth" exit from the European Union.

Spanish blue chips suffering their biggest one-day loss in six months, weighed down by losses among banks.



The Dublin market finished marginally weaker on Thursday, down 17.66 points to 7,094.94.

Among the main movers was hotels operator Dalata, which bounced back after a big sell-off earlier in the week. The group, which on Wednesday said it traded marginally ahead of 2016 during the first four months of this year, closed up 2.8 per cent to €5.08.

Permanent TSB was flat at €2.73 after some positive numbers from KBC Bank Ireland earlier in the day. Chief executive Jeremy Masding earlier this week said the bank needed to get "momentum" in dealing with its sizeable book of non-performing loans (NPLs) before being able to pay a dividend.

Bank of Ireland was down 2.3 per cent to 24 cent while C&C lost 1.8 per cent to close at €3.64.


Britain’s top-share index steadied at one-month highs on Thursday after five straight sessions of gains as disappointing results and downgrades weighed, as well as a slump in Hikma’s shares after a setback to one of its drugs. The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended flat at 7,386.63 points, having risen for five straight sessions, while the mid caps fell 0.4 per cent.

Pharma firm Hikma sunk 8.2 per cent and hit its lowest level in around five months after US regulators decided not to approve its generic copy of GlaxoSmithKline's blockbuster lung drug Advair. Hikma also said that the likelihood of an approval this year was now low.

Shares in Hikma's mid-cap partner Vectura plunged 8.9 per cent. Results also weighed, with BT falling 4.5 per cent after reporting fourth-quarter results. The telecoms group said it would cut 4,000 jobs in its global services unit and scale back its dividend growth ambitions.

Energy supplier Centrica was another sizeable faller, down 5.4 per cent after JP Morgan cut its rating on the stock to "underweight" from "overweight".


Among shares active on corporate news, Italian lender UniCredit rose 3.7 per cent after delivering first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts' estimates.

Shares in Telefonica lost 4 per cent after the Spanish giant reported a 42 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit, which was somewhat below consensus.

German commercial broadcaster ProSiebensat fell 5.9 per cent after it reported a disappointing advertising outlook.


US stocks were on track to record their steepest fall in nearly a month early on Thursday amid broad declines, led by retail and bank stocks. Macy's dismal quarterly performance sent its shares tumbling 13 per cent, taking a toll on the consumer discretionary sector, which fell 1 per cent with all of its components in the red.

Financials were off 0.87 per cent as losses in Wells Fargo and Bank of America weighed.

Shares of Snapchat owner Snap Inc plunged 20 per cent after the company reported a slowdown in user growth and revenue in its first earnings report as a public company. Straight Path fell 20 per cent after it agreed to be taken over by Verizon in a $3.1 billion deal, snubbing an offer from AT&T. Merck was the top stock on the S&P and the Dow, up 1.5 per cent after the FDA cleared its lung cancer combination treatment.

Additional reporting: Reuters

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist