Ukraine concerns wipe out positive jobs news from US
Aer Lingus gains 1.31% after Mueller’s pay package narrowly backed by shareholders
Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller (left) and acting company secretary Michael Shovlin before the airline’s AGM at Dublin Airport today. Photograph: Dave Meehan
The Iseq in Dublin climbed 0.5 per cent while a general nervousness crept into European markets, after Ukrainian forces clashed with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. Some European markets remained shut for May Day.
British shares were among the best performers, on the back of positive earnings reports from market stalwarts and good US economic data.
US stocks fluctuated during the afternoon, after an early rally, with traders blaming the Ukrainian tension. The news overshadowed data showing US payrolls had risen the most in two years.
Kerry Group, the ingredients and consumer foods giant, finished the day at €55.80, a rise of 0.85 per cent. It had been ahead by as much as 1.6 per cent before a late retreat. It reported strong growth in its ingredients division for the first quarter, especially in Asia, while its consumer foods division was flat.
Aer Lingus closed at €1.55, a rise of 1.31 per cent, after its chief executive Christoph Mueller’s pay package was narrowly backed by shareholders at the company’s agm. The Government voted against his remuneration in protest at a boost to his pension arrangements, while the company’s chairman warned that his continued service was vital to the business.
Kingspan, the insulation giant, gave up some of its gains from earlier in the week, losing 0.56 per cent to close at €13.27. This was despite good news from Britain, its biggest market, where the government boosted the payments available under a green home renovation scheme
InterContinental Hotels, which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, rallied 8.2 per cent to 2,190 pence. Revenue per available room, a measure of occupancy and rates, rose 6 per cent in the first quarter, driven by growth in Europe and the Americas. The company said it would pay a special dividend of £444 million.
RBS rallied 9.4 per cent after saying quarterly profit tripled and impairments fell. The bank’s net-interest margin – the difference between its income from lending and its cost of funding – will probably increase during the remainder of 2014, it predicted.
Serco Group sank 12 per cent for the biggest drop in the Stoxx 600 index this week. The operator of London’s Docklands Light Railway lowered its 2014 earnings forecast and increased its equity capital by 10 percent.
Deutsche Telekom, which owns about 67 per cent of T-Mobile, climbed 1.1 per cent to €12.22. Executives from rival operator Sprint met six banks last month to make debt arrangements to finance a possible takeover of T-Mobile, according to reports.
Alstom jumped 10 per cent as GE made a €12.4 billion bid for the French company’s energy business. Siemens said this week it would also make an offer for Alstom if it got access to financial information.
Bayer added 4.4 per cent. It has been reported that Germany’s largest pharmaceutical company is in exclusive talks to acquire Merck’s consumer business and is prepared to pay about $14 billion for the division.
Pfizer lost 1.4 per cent to $30.73. AstraZeneca rejected Pfizer’s sweetened takeover proposal, saying the £63.1 billion offer failed to appreciate the value of the promising medicines under development by the UK’s second-biggest drugmaker.
LinkedIn dropped 6.4 per cent to $150.90. Second-quarter revenue will be $500m- $505 million, according to the company. Analysts had estimated sales of $505.5 million, according to Bloomberg.
Casino companies rallied as April revenue from the Asian island of Macau, a gambling hotspot, rose 10.6 per cent, beating projections of 7 per cent. Wynn Resorts added 5.9 per cent to $218.85. MGM Resorts International increased 3 per cent to $26.16. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg)