European shares rebound on better Chinese data

UK-focused stocks in demand in Dublin as Irish shares join European rally

European shares rebounded after three days of declines as better-than-expected Chinese data helped ease investor concerns over global growth and the health of the world’s second biggest economy.

The Stoxx 600 climbed 1.3 per cent, the most since September 22nd, delivering the European benchmark index’s first weekly gain in three.

Data on Friday showed producer prices rose for the first time since 2012, as well as higher-than-estimated inflation, offered a more encouraging outlook for the economy.


The Iseq index surged 1.6 per cent to 5,907.8, marking its biggest increase in six weeks, as Irish shares joined in the European relief rally.


Irish Continental Group led advancing stocks, soaring 4.5 per cent to €4.20, helped by comments from Bank of England governor Mark Carney that he could live with inflation above the bank's 2 per cent target if it meant supporting growth and protecting jobs.

Other UK-focused stocks were also in demand, with Ryanair gaining 2.3 per cent to €11.75, while Paddy Power Betfair advanced 1.7 per cent to €98.27.

Kerry Group rose 3 per cent to €72.17 after boutique UK investment bank Liberum pushed its buy rating on the stock in a note.

Elsewhere, Permanent TSB gained 1.3 per cent to €2.33 on mounting hopes the group is close to the end of its asset-sales plan and that the budget's help-to-buy plan for first-time buyers will help the mortgage market.


Britain’s leading share index climbed after falling in the previous three sessions, with grocer


recovering while mid-cap

Man Group

surging after a strong trading update.

Man Group, the world's biggest listed hedge fund, leapt 13.8 per cent for its best day since February 2014 after saying demand for its quantitative strategies and market gains had pushed quarterly funds under management up 6 per cent.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.5 per cent at 7,013.55 points at its close, having fallen to its lowest level in more than a week on Thursday. The index, dominated by international companies, set a record high earlier in the week, boosted by a slump in the pound to a 31-year low.

The pound’s drop has helped many FTSE 100 companies that get much of their revenue in dollars, but a weaker pound can also hit consumer confidence, which often hurts small and medium-sized firms.

Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco, rose 4.4 per cent, the top gainer in the FTSE 100, after settling a pricing row with Unilever that had halted online sales of goods produced by the Anglo-Dutch giant.


Italian banks stood out as a bright spot in Europe, with

Banco Popolare


Banca Popolare di Milano

rising 6.1 per cent or more on optimism that shareholders will this weekend back their merger.

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton contributed the most to gains among miners. Anglo American added 1.5 per cent on reports that Apollo Global Management and Xcoal Energy and Resource are poised to buy its Australian metallurgical coal assets.

Deutsche Bank shares rose 2 per cent amid fresh hopes that the German would soon reach a settlement with US authorities over alleged mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis.

Syngenta fell 2.1 per cent on concern that its $43 billion takeover by China National Chemical Corp could be disrupted by China's plan to merge its acquirer with another state-owned entity.


US stocks were trading off their highs by early afternoon trade as a rally in banks faded and crude erased an advance to drag energy producers lower, while investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve chairwoman

Janet Yellen


The S&P 500 Index added 0.2 per cent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.4 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite increased 0.3 per cent.

JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reported quarterly revenue and profit that beat market expectations. However, the first two company's stocks were only up slightly in early afternoon trade, while scandal-hit Wells was in negative territory. The bank said its chief executive John Stumpf was retiring on Wednesday with immediate effect, after the US's second largest bank was roiled by a scandal in recent months over its sales practices.

Elsewhere, Microsoft rose 1.1 per cent after Cowen & Co raised its price target on the stock, while McDonald's fell 1.1 per cent after the fast-food chain operator announced charges related to strategic changes it had outlined last year.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times