Markets surge on Fed rates signal

US central banker indicates softening of policy stance

European markets surged late on Friday as US Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, signalled that an end to rising interest rates may be in sight.

Addressing a gathering at Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia, the US central bank chief said the need to slow the world’s biggest economy had to balanced with the risk that it could move too far and noted the bank had made progress in its fight against inflation.


Traders said most Irish stocks rallied as investors took in details of Mr Powell’s speech.

Ryanair climbed 2.42 per cent to close at €18 as airlines across Europe enjoyed the general good sentiment towards equities despite lingering fuel price concerns. Oil producers’ cartel Opec said member countries would cut production by around 900,000 barrels a day next month, but was fuzzy on the detail. Crude prices remained stable as a result on Friday.


Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment gained 2.69 per cent to €147.10. Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa gained 2.44 per cent to €35.65.

Among the smaller stocks, dealers said that Irish banks did well. AIB rose 1 per cent to €4.296, while Bank of Ireland added 1.2 per cent to €8.694.


Predictions that 2024 would be a good year for commodities such as copper drove a strong start to December for mining stocks, which helped London’s blue chip FTSE 100 index gain more than 1 per cent on Friday.

Anglo American climbed 169 pence sterling or 7.9 per cent to 2,311p. Antofagasta added 87p or 6.2 per cent to 1,495.5p. In the same vein Rio Tinto rose 200p or 3.7 per cent to 5,599p while Glencore climbed 15.9p or 3.6 per cent to 457.7p.

Irish DIY and builders’ suppliers Grafton Group, which has its sole listing in London, added 1.4 per cent to close at 820.7p. The owner of Woodies’ DIY chain benefited from a strong performance across building and housing stocks spurred by positive interest rate signals from the US.

Aer Lingus owner International Consolidated Airlines’ Group (IAG) gained 2.2 per cent to 156.5p.


The miners’ strong performance helped boost the benchmark S&P Stoxx 600, which covers leading companies across 18 European markets, by 1 per cent on the day. The gain left the index 6.45 per cent ahead of its November 1st close.

News that euro zone inflation slipped to 2.4 per cent last month from 2.9 per cent in October drove gains across the region, with leading markets all ending the day ahead. Germany’s DAX was up 1.1 per cent, while France’s leading index the CAC 40 added 0.5 per cent.

Air France KLM climbed 3 per cent to €11.98 on a good day for airlines. Lufthansa’s stock accelerated at the same rate to €8.22.


Wall Street’s main indexes inched higher on Friday after Mr Powell acknowledged progress in lowering inflation.

Drugmaker Pfizer, which has a strong Irish presence, fell 4.6 per cent as it scrapped a plan to advance a twice-daily version of oral weight-loss drug Danuglipron into late-stage studies, delaying its entry into the lucrative market.

Paramount Global climbed 7.6 per cent on a report the media company and Apple have discussed bundling their streaming services at a discount.

Tesla underperformed megacap peers, falling 1.6 per cent, as the electric vehicle maker priced its Cybertruck above its initial forecast. Additional reporting – Bloomberg, Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas