European shares rise to highest in six weeks

Ryanair big news on Irish market after fresh profit warning

US-China trade tensions were judged to have eased on Friday. Photograph: Reuters

US-China trade tensions were judged to have eased on Friday. Photograph: Reuters

 

European shares climbed to their highest level in six weeks as US-China trade tensions eased.

DUBLIN

Ryanair attracted a lot of attention after the airline announced early on Friday that profits for the 12 months ended March 31st would be €1 billion to €1.1 billion, against an earlier prediction of €1.1 billion to €1.2 billion.

The stock hit a low of €9.548 during the day, down more than 6 per cent, before staging a recovery to close marginally ahead at €10.095, an increase of 0.3 per cent.

Around 9.7 million of the airline’s shares traded in Dublin. Dealers noted that buyers moved in once the stock hit its lows. They argued that investors expected a similar prediction from Ryanair on February 4th, when the company is due to report third-quarter results. “It just came two weeks early, that’s all,” one said.

Elsewhere, Irish banks found themselves very much in favour after a long period caught in the general negative fallout from Brexit.

AIB advanced 5.07 per cent to €3.94, with almost seven million of its shares changing hands. Bank of Ireland rose 4 per cent to €5.575 after 3.2 million of its shares traded in Dublin.

One dealer pointed out that the banks have been underperforming their European peers as Brexit had left many Irish stocks out of vogue. However, he pointed out that investors were beginning to see value in them. “They caught a break yesterday,” he said.

Building materials giant and Iseq Index heavyweight, CRH, rose 2.39 per cent to €25.29. News agency Reuters reported that US president, Donald Trump, was seeking cash for infrastructure later this year, potentially benefitting companies such as CRH, which supply road building and other materials in the US.

Builder Cairn Homes was up 2.23 per cent at €1.284. The company said earlier this week that the number of homes it sold last year doubled to 804.

LONDON

Oil companies boosted the blue chip FTSE 100 as their prices rose amid reports showing Opec output was down.

BP added 2.41 per cent to 523.3 pence sterling. Royal Dutch Shell advanced 2.89 per cent to 2,389p.

Bank HSBC rose 2 per cent to 651.8p. British industrial stocks swiftly climbed to their highest since November. Equipment rental company Ashtead was the biggest gainer on FTSE 100 with a 4.5 per cent rise to 1,953p.

EUROPE

French supermarket retailer Casino rose 6 per cent as traders and analysts said fourth-quarter sales had weathered “Yellow Vest” anti-government demonstrations in France.

Lab testing company Eurofins Scientific, which has operations in the Republic, shot up 8.7 per cent to €359.80 in Paris after analysts at investment bank Berenberg kept a “buy” on the stock, saying negative views gained traction in late 2018, providing an opportunity.

Optimism also came from small-cap German online meal-kit delivery service HelloFresh whose shares surged 21.5 percent after it raised its revenue forecast.

It was not all good news for European stocks though. Telecom Italia dropped 7.2 per cent to 49 cent after it said it expected to report full-year organic core earnings of around €8.1 billion, a drop of under 5 per cent compared to the year before.

US

Technology and industrial stocks powered Wall Street’s rise on Friday, setting the three main indices on track for their fourth week of gains, amid growing optimism that the United States and China would resolve their bitter trade dispute.

US stocks steadily extended gains after a Bloomberg report said China had offered to go on a six-year buying spree to ramp up US imports in order to reconfigure the relation between the two countries.

Schlumberger jumped 7.87 percent after the world’s largest oilfield services provider’s quarterly revenue beat estimates.

One disappointment was Netflix which fell 1.61 per cent as investors looked past its record subscriber numbers and instead focused on its lower-than-expected revenue forecast for the first quarter. - Additional reporting: Reuters