Stocks shrug off China-US trade concerns

Markets close: Iseq rises on thin volume while US markets are closed

Irish shares rose on Monday, a day on which volume was thin due to a US market holiday, Labour Day.

Elsewhere, London’s FTSE 100 surged 1 per cent on Monday, shrugging off news of the latest US-China trade tariffs, as exporter stocks firmed following a slide in sterling on the prospect of an election against the backdrop of Brexit.

European stocks more broadly also edged higher with investors favouring defensive sectors as the United States and China imposed more tariffs.


The Iseq all-share index rose by half a per cent on Monday with low volumes seen across stocks.


Dalata Hotel Group was among the losers, albeit on light data, in advance of its half year results release on Tuesday. The stock dipped 0.8 per cent to €4.32 on the first day of the trading week.

Cairn Homes performed was well traded on the day and rose 0.78 per cent to €1.04.

Elsewhere, Ryanair was up on the day to €9.22, a rise of 0.9 per cent, while heavyweight CRH rose by 0.89 per cent to €30.55.

AIB continued to hover around its low point and fell 0.35 per cent to €2.29 on the day.


The main UK index hit its highest in nearly a month, partly boosted by AstraZeneca, which rose 3 per cent to an all-time high after separate trials showed its drugs helped patients with cardiovascular conditions.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 rose 0.5 per cent.

Companies that book a major chunk of their earnings in US dollars such as Diageo, Unilever and BAT jumped as the pound weakened ahead of a showdown this week between the government and legislators opposed to a no-deal Brexit.

On a low-key day for corporate news, Marks & Spencer shed 1.4 per cent on expectations of being relegated from the FTSE 100 for the first time since the blue-chip index was created in 1984. Also weighing on shares of the 135-year-old retailer was Goldman Sachs reinstating coverage on the stock with a "sell" rating, saying recent trading patterns in the retailer "continued to be disappointing".

"It is clear that UK consumers are becoming savvier, and M&S are undergoing a restructuring scheme, but it seems the consumer climate is deteriorating at a quicker rate then M&S is turning itself around," CMC Markets analyst David Madden said.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.3 per cent, starting September on a positive note after global trade disputes and recession worries drove the benchmark down 1.6 per cent in August.

On the main Stoxx index, defensive sectors such as food and beverage, healthcare and utilities – which tend to be favoured during times of economic uncertainty – led the gainers.

An ongoing decline in export-reliant Germany meant factory activity in the euro zone contracted for a seventh month in August, bolstering expectations the European Central Bank will ease monetary policy next week.

Trade-reliant sectors such as technology stocks and autos lagged, and commodity-linked stocks turned to losses after initially leading gains in the region on a surge in iron ore prices.

Trade-sensitive German shares ended slightly higher, led by gains in exchange operator Deutsche Boerse, while a price target hike by Goldman Sachs on renewable-energy company RWE drove its shares up 3.7 per cent. Easing political worries helped Italy's FTSE MIB gain 0.6 per cent after prime minister Giuseppe Conte said on Sunday he expected to settle talks over a new government by Wednesday, as the 5-Star Movement and Democratic Party (PD) worked out cabinet posts and a common agenda.

In corporate news, German real estate group Aroundtown turned 3.2 per cent lower after initially hitting a record high.

Rival TLG Immobilien said it was evaluating a potential merger with Aroundtown, buying a nearly 10 per cent stake in the company for about €1.02 billion. TLG's shares also fell 3.5 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

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