European shares rise on strong corporate earnings

Ireland’s Iseq All-Share index advances 1.2% with banking stocks in demand

European shares rose on Thursday on the back of strong corporate earnings from companies like Swiss engineering outfit ABB and Spanish lender Bankinter.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.3 per cent higher, as the earnings season picked up steam.


The Iseq All-Share index gained by 1.2 per cent to 9,941.69.

Banking stocks were in demand, as sector followers digested an optimistic assessment by Bankinter of its lending income prospects following a strong first-quarter.


AIB rose 1.4 per cent, Bank of Ireland advanced 3.6 per cent to €10.02, and PTSB jumped almost 4 per cent to €1.58.

Ryanair nudged 1.5 per cent higher to €20.55 after rival EasyJet said its winter performance improved on growing demand and that summer bookings were building well.

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Greencoat Renewables advanced 2.8 per cent to 85½ cent after data centres firm Keppel DC Reit said it has signed a power purchase agreement with it.


UK equities recovered for a second straight session supported by positive corporate updates, while the pound firmed against the dollar as traders lowered their expectations of any early rate cut by the Bank of England (BoE).

The benchmark FTSE 100 rose 0.4 per cent for the day.

The FTSE 250 midcap index snapped its five-day losing streak to gain 0.6 per cent, driven by a 30.5 per cent surge in Hipgnosis Songs Fund after Concord Chorus said it would acquire the music investor for $1.4 billion (€1.3 billion).

BoE policymaker Megan Greene said Britain’s latest wage growth and services price inflation data is too high for the UK central bank to consider cutting interest rates.

EasyJet rose 2.3 per cent on the back of the carrier’s upbeat outlook.

“What could have been an even weaker-than-usual winter update affected by disruption to flights in the Middle East ended up being saved by Easter, encouraging holidaymakers to jet off to catch some spring sunshine even if temperatures weren’t quite what they would usually be,” said Adam Vettese, an analyst at investment platform eToro.

National Grid climbed 1.7 per cent, leading gains in the utilities’ sector, after the energy utility upgraded its 2023-24 profit guidance.

Deliveroo advanced 4.5 per cent after the meal deliverer returned to order growth in the first quarter.

Rentokil fell 7.6 per cent after the pest control company announced its first-quarter trading updates.


ABB jumped 6.3 per cent after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter profit and signalling faster growth in the coming months.

Telecommunications climbed 1 per cent, boosted by a 6.7 per cent jump in Sweden’s Tele2 following first-quarter service revenues and earnings data.

Bankinter jumped 5.3 per cent. Millennium bcp rose 6 per cent as the Portuguese bank will resume dividend payments after a one-year hiatus.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank made it clear that a June interest rate cut is coming but policymakers continued to differ on moves thereafter or how low interest rates can go before once again starting to stimulate the economy.

EQT dropped 5.9 pre cent after the Swedish investment company reported lower than expected first-quarter results and said it expects fundraising to continue at least through 2024.


US stocks were higher in early afternoon trading as investors contended with the push-pull of a strong economy and restrictive Federal Reserve policy.

New York Fed president John Williams said he does not see a convincing case for cutting the central bank’s policy rate now as the economy is robust.

On Tuesday, Fed chairman Jerome Powell declined to guide on when rates might be lowered.

Megacap growth stock Meta Platforms was in demand as Bernstein raised its price target, a sixth such hike on the stock this week.

The first-quarter earnings season was in full swing with Genuine Parts jumping as the automotive parts distributor raised its 2024 profit forecast.

Elevance Health advanced after the health insurer reported quarterly profit above Wall Street estimates and slightly raised its annual earnings forecast.

DR Horton rose after the US home builder raised its annual revenue forecast as tight housing supply boosted sales.

— Additional reporting: Reuters

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times