European markets ticked up yesterday as a number of companies reported solid results, but others delivered less positive news.
The Irish market ended the day slightly ahead. Builder Cairn Homes gained 2.65 per cent to close at €1.668. Dealers noted that the stock has drawn a number of buyers over the last week.
Index heavyweight, building materials giant CRH, added 1.13 per cent following news that a number of its European rivals expected trading conditions to improve in the coming months.
Service station Applegreen was in demand following news that it has bought seven outlets in the UK for €23 million. Its shares rose 1.68 per cent to €5.44.
The banks were a collective black spot after analysts published up-to-date assessments of Irish lenders.
Davy analyst Emer Lang downgraded Permanent TSB to neutral and warned that the challenge of cutting non-performing loans overshadowed progress in other areas. Its shares plunged as much as 5.8 per cent early on Thursday. The bank ended the day 3.21 per cent down at €1.90.
AIB fell as much as 1.9 per cent in the morning after analysts at one of its advisors, Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley, said that they remain cautious about its prospects. Its stock regained ground later to close 0.49 per cent down at €4.876. Bank of Ireland shed 1.43 per cent to €6.821.
Clothing chain Next soared 9.67 per cent to 4401 pence after reporting that sales rose 0.7 per cent in the second quarter to July 29th. That compares to a fall of 3 per cent the previous quarter.
The firm said it remained cautious on the consumer outlook. Next has faltered over the last two years, suffering from a broader slowdown in spending on clothing and footwear that it first identified in late 2015. Its shares have fallen 20 per cent over the last year.
Precious metals miner Randgold Resources also enjoyed gains, with its shares rising 3.4 per cent after reporting a jump in first-half profit and raising its production forecast.
But disappointing earnings weighed on shares in medical supplier Convatec, which slumped 6.4 per cent after posting a lower profit for the first half and also announcing the departure of chief financial officer Nigel Clerkin, who said that he did not want to relocate his family from Dublin to the UK.
Shire fell 1.9 per cent, reversing earlier gains. The drugmaker upgraded its earnings forecast and said it was exploring options for its hyperactive drugs business, including a listing.
German industrial giant Siemens said that it would wait until next year to list its healthcare unit following the release of disappointing quarterly earnings.
Its 3.1 per cent slide dragged on the German blue-chip DAX index, which fell 0.2 per cent, underperforming the rest of Europe and adding to a recent slide due to strength in the euro.
Elsewhere in Europe, some solid earning updates supported the broader market. UniCredit rose 7.2 per cent as Italy’s largest bank reported its biggest quarterly profit in almost a decade, outstripping market expectations and restoring cash dividends after a radical balance sheet overhaul.
French stationery supplier Bic jumped more than 5 per cent after reporting sales up 3 per cent in the first half.
Among the losers were Norwegian oil services firm TGS , down 5.4 per cent after slightly lighter revenues for the second quarter, and Tenaris, down 7.2 per cent, as its outlook disappointed following in-line quarterly results.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost ground on Thursday as tech stocks slipped, while the Dow moved above the 22,000 mark to hit a new record.
Kentucky Fried Chicken parent Yum Brands fell 2.41 per cent, while Dish Network lost 2.98 per cent after releasing its earning reports. Avon Products was down 10.57 per cent after the company posted another surprise quarterly loss.
Apple and Amazon were the top drags on the S&P and the Nasdaq. However, Tesla’s 6.85 per cent jump eased some of the pressure.
– (Additional reporting: Reuters)