Sun, Jan 12, 2020 - Page 14 News List

European shares ease after three-day run, airlines soar


European shares fell modestly on Friday on weaker than expected US jobs growth, but travel and leisure stocks gained after Ryanair Holdings PLC raised its profit forecast and Evolution Gaming Group AB announced an online US casino deal.

The better than expected Christmas and New Year numbers from Europe’s largest low-cost operator lifted its shares to a two-year high and boosted budget carriers EasyJet PLC and Wizz Air Holdings PLC, which gained about 4 percent and 7 percent respectively.

Sweden’s Evolution Gaming Group jumped 6 percent after it announced an agreement with US-based Parx Casino to deliver online services.

The travel and leisure sub-sector closed at its highest in more than one-and-a-half years.

The pan-European STOXX 600 slipped in the final minutes of trading after spending most of the session in positive territory. It fell 0.12 percent to close the day at 419.14 points, up 0.2 percent for the week. It was the first decline in four days.

Slower-than-expected US jobs growth last month pressured Wall Street’s advance.

However, the pace of hiring remained more than enough to keep the world’s largest economy humming.

“The recent stock surge has ground to a halt after an underwhelming US jobs report,” IG Group PLC senior market analyst Joshua Mahony said. “However, with the US-China issue coming back into focus, next week is likely to see a shift onto more positive topics.”

The benchmark STOXX 600 had pulled back from record levels at the start of the week on concerns about an all-out conflict between US and Iran.

However, indications from both sides that they would refrain from further military action, as well as signals that a US-China trade deal would be signed on Wednesday helped markets resume their record run.

British retailer B&M European Retail Value SA suffered its sharpest fall in more than a year after it said sales growth slowed in the key Christmas quarter partly due to a tough market.

Superdry PLC also plunged about 7 percent, joining a spate of reports this week that signaled that UK retailers struggled for sales growth in the run-up to Christmas.

The European retail index ended Friday with its steepest weekly drop in 14 weeks.

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