European shares rise on solid economic data
Reasonably brisk trading in Bank of Ireland with about 150m shares changing hands
The Bank of Ireland building in the International Financial Services Centre: Activity at Bank of Ireland has been increasing since it broke through the 20 cents a share barrier last week. Photograph: Frank MIller
European stocks rose for a fifth day in response to better-than-expected economic data, as well as signals from central bankers that European interest rates will stay low for an extended period.
Official EU figures yesterday showed GDP in the euro area expanded 0.3 per cent in the second quarter after a similar-sized contraction in the previous three months, meaning the currency bloc’s recession is now officially at an end.
UK markets were weaker, after minutes of a meeting at the Bank of England showed disagreement over Governor Mark Carney’s previous guidance linking future interest rates to unemployment. There were worries in New York about whether the Fed would begin to tighten its monetary policy.
The ISEQ was broadly flat adding only about 0.1 per cent, as dealers reported poor trading volumes during the annual summer lull.
There was reasonably brisk trading in Bank of Ireland, with about 150 million shares changing hands yesterday. Activity has been increasing since it broke through the 20 cents a share barrier last week. The bank’s share price closed yesterday just shy of 21 cents.
Trading in Ryanair shares was weak, as the share appears to have shrugged off any negative impact from a Channel 4 television documentary questioning its fuel and safety procedures. It finished down 0.29 per cent.
Datalex, the travel software provider that counts Dermot Desmond among its backers, was among the strongest performers on the index. It rose 3.25 per cent to 80 cents.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent, with losses for companies going ex-dividend offsetting the impact of positive macroeconomic data. African Minerals Ltd slumped 10 per cent to 219 pence after Keith Calder resigned as chief executive. Bernard Pryor will replace Calder with immediate effect.
Rentokil Initial jumped to its highest price in more than two years after reporting an increase in first-half earnings and sales. It rallied 6.1 per cent to 103 pence, the highest price since February 2011.
Countrywide, a property developer based in London, fell 4.5 per cent to 570 pence. Shareholders Oaktree Capital Management LLC and Apollo Management LP put a 30 million-share stake for sale after markets closed yesterday.
National benchmark indices rose in 12 of the 18 western European markets. Among the strongest performers were Germany’s DAX, up 0.3 per cent, and France’s CAC 40, which increased 0.5 per cent.
Swiss Life Holding AG, Switzerland’s biggest life insurer, gained 5.3 per cent to 182.20 Swiss francs. It reported an increase in first-half profit that exceeded analyst estimates after selling more policies in Switzerland and France.
Wirecard AG jumped 4.6 per cent to €23.95. The online payment-services company reported first-half sales gains of 21 per cent to €216.1 million. RWE, Germany’s second-largest utility, lost 4.5 per cent to €21.36 after coming in below analysts’ estimates regarding recurrent net income, the measure used to calculate its dividend. Subsea 7 soared 8.5 per cent to 121 kroner, its biggest gain since June 2010. It posted a second-quarter loss of $17.3 million, against forecasts for a loss of $131 million.
US stocks fell, sending the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index lower for the sixth time in eight days, as speculation increased that the Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus this year.
The iconic department store Macy’s was the biggest faller on the S&P 500 as its share price fell 4.2 per cent to $46.47. It said it was forced to discount items as consumers limited their spending on non-essential goods. Apple was one of the biggest gainers, rising 2.0 per cent to $499.59 to extend a rally that began on Tuesday after activist investor Carl Icahn tweeted that he had built a “large position” in the tech company. – (Additional reporting: Reuters and Bloomberg)