European shares edge higher after LVMH and Adidas post upbeat quarterly earnings

Investors keep cautious watch on geopolitical developments and interest rates outlook

European shares gained on Wednesday after a bruising sell-off in the previous session, supported by healthy quarterly results from consumer giants LVMH and Adidas, while investors also kept a cautious watch on developments in the Middle East.

Data showed euro zone inflation slowed across the board in March, reinforcing expectations for a European Central Bank interest rate cut in June, even as rising energy costs and a weak euro cloud the outlook.


The Iseq rose 0.5 per cent, lifted by gains for financial stocks, Ryanair and Smurfit Kappa. Bank of Ireland advanced almost 2.4 per cent to €9.67 in the session, while AIB rose 2.1 per cent to finish at €4.98.

Ryanair added 0.65 per cent to €20.25, while packaging group Smurfit Kappa finished 0.5 per cent higher at €40.42.


There was a slip for Kerry, however, which nudged down 0.25 per cent to €79.05, while Cairn Homes ended the day 0.9 per cent lower at €1.62.


The UK’s benchmark index FTSE 100 climbed 0.4 per cent, underpinned by industrial metal miners, while the pound strengthened on growing doubts over the prospect of early rate cuts by the Bank of England. The mid-cap FTSE 250 traded flat at the close after posting steep losses on Tuesday.

Industrial metal miners gained 2.2 per cent, with shares of Rio Tinto rising 2.6 per cent after it published a steady operations update.

Traders expect the Bank of England to cut rates by 40 basis points in 2024, with the possibility of a first rate cut only in September.

Among other stocks ASOS advanced 4.9 per cent after the online fashion retailer appointed a new chief financial officer and reiterated its full-year forecast for adjusted core profit despite stiff competition and excess inventory.

Entain rose about 1 per cent after the owner of Ladbrokes posted better-than-expected first-quarter online gaming revenue due to a rise in its customer base


The continent-wide STOXX 600 closed 0.2 per cent higher after notching its biggest one-day drop in over nine months on Tuesday, with the personal and household goods sector jumping 1.8 per cent.

Adidas soared 8.6 per cent to an over two-year high, topping Germany’s blue-chip index, as the sportswear company hiked its outlook for 2024 after posting better-than-expected preliminary results for the first quarter.

LVMH climbed 2.8 per cent after the world’s largest luxury group’s first-quarter sales offered some reassurance to investors concerned about the industry’s outlook. With other luxury names Hermes and Richemont climbing 2.3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, the broader sector gained 1.8 per cent.

Capping gains, technology stocks dropped 3.2 per cent, hauled down by ASML’s 6.7 per cent slide after Europe’s biggest tech firm reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter new bookings.

German automotive supplier Continental, meanwhile, dropped 5.5 per cent after a first-quarter revenue and profit margin miss.


Wall Street’s main indexes fell in choppy trade in the first hours of the session, with chipmaker stocks among the top losers, while downbeat earnings reports from some industry majors added to the losses.

Weighing on the Dow, Travelers dropped 8.2 per cent after the insurance giant missed Wall Street expectations for first-quarter profit, while Abbott Laboratories fell 4 per cent as investors signalled disappointment over its annual forecast.

On the bright side United Airlines gained 12.4 per cent after it forecast stronger-than-expected numbers in the current quarter. Other airline stocks, such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, added between 1.5 per cent and 3.2 per cent.

Eli Lilly gained 0.9 per cent after its weight-loss drug helped reduce episodes of irregular breathing in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea across two late-stage trials.

Additional reporting: Reuters

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics