Iseq hits 9-year high as European investors cheer strong earnings

Bank of Ireland was among the main gainers, rising 3 per cent to 23.8c

US shares pushed towards record highs in early afternoon trading on Wall Street.

US shares pushed towards record highs in early afternoon trading on Wall Street.

 

Irish shares soared to a fresh nine-year high as European markets reopened after the long weekend on Tuesday in buoyant mood as investors cheered healthy company results and manufacturing data.

The Iseq index jumped 1.7 per cent to 6,679.36 points to reach a level not seen since early 2008, months before the global financial crisis really set in.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.8 per cent to its highest level since 2015, with Germany’s Dax hitting an all-time high, as investors welcomed the fact that about a third of European publicly listed companies have reported first-quarter results, with profit growth running at about 13.9 per cent during the period.

Euro-zone factory activity hit a six-year high in April, a purchasing managers index survey revealed on Tuesday.

“The economy is doing better within Europe, but these also tend to be global companies,” said Isabelle Mateos Y Lago, chief multi-asset strategist at Blackrock.

DUBLIN

Back in Dublin, Bank of Ireland was among the main gainers, rising 3 per cent to 23.8c, in line with the broader European banking sector.

Kingspan gained 2.9 per cent to €77.22, with analysts in Investec highlighting that a solid first-quarter report from Geberit, the Swiss manufacturer of sanitary and piping systems, pointed to improving demand for construction industry products in Europe.

CRH was also in demand, gaining 2 per cent to €34.16, as US lawmakers passed measures on Monday to release highway funds for 2017 that were covered by laws enacted in late 2015. The stock was also underpinned as Moody’s upgraded CRH’s credit rating and the company went about refinancing $650 million of bonds that were due to be repaid next year.

Bucking the trend, Independent News & Media dipped 0.8 per cent to 12.9c as investors mulled corporate governance at the company. The newspaper publisher revealed on Friday it had been forced to classify two non-executive directors at not being independent, as its annual report outlined previously unknown financial links between the pair and INM and its largest shareholder, Denis O’Brien.

LONDON

The FTSE 100 index ended up 0.6 per cent at 7,250.05 points in London, with oil giant BP soaring 1.6 per cent after its profit nearly tripled in the first quarter to $1.51 billion (€1.38 billion), beating analysts’ expectations.

Precious metals miners were on the backfoot, however, with both Fresnillo and Randgold Resources dropping more than 2 per cent after the price of gold, considered a safe-haven asset, held near three-week lows as equities rallied and the dollar gained.

Earnings also drove shares in Aberdeen Asset Management, which rose 4.3 per cent after it reported first-half revenues rose 10.6 per cent.

EUROPE

Swiss materials company OC Oerlikon gained 6.7 per cent after it raised its targets for sales and orders for 2017, reporting a strong first quarter.

Among fallers, Swedish polymer-producer Hexpol dropped 9.4 per cent after broker Kepler Cheuvreux cut the stock to “hold” from “buy”, saying that following a recent rally the company’s shares now reflected expected growth.

Jyske Bank underperformed Europe’s financials, down 3.5 per cent after the Danish lender posted first-quarter results with weaker net interest income and capital ratio. Fiat Chrysler fell 4.2 per cent after data showing its US car sales dropped in April.

NEW YORK

US shares pushed towards record highs in early afternoon trading on Wall Street awaiting technology giant Apple’s latest quarterly report, which was due after trading ended.

Shares in the iPhone-maker rose as much as 1 per cent to reach a record market capitalisation of $775 billion.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent in early afternoon to approach a previous all-time high reached in March. The Nasdaq Composite was flat, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.1 per cent higher.