Cautious optimism lifts markets

UK financial rules shake-up and hopes that the Fed will moderate interest rate stance aid sentiment

European markets rose on Friday as Britain shook up financial markets rules and investors speculated that the US central bank could take a less tough approach to hiking interest rates.


Cement giant and index heavyweight CRH gained 1.92 per cent to close at €37.63 in Dublin. Paddy Power and Betfair-owner Flutter Entertainment closed 1.31 per cent ahead at €139.45. Insulation and building materials specialist Kingspan climbed 1.22 per cent to €53.16.

Airline Ryanair Holdings added 2.76 per cent to end the day at €13.23.

International packaging group Smurfit Kappa rose 2.59 per cent to €35.64. Insurer FBD advanced 2.35 per cent to €10.90.


UK stocks made modest gains after chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled plans to overhaul post-2008 financial services regulations in a bid to “turbocharge” British growth and revive investment in the City of London.

British banks, insurers and asset managers were among the companies that lifted to the top of the FTSE 100 by 4.46 points to 7,476.33, helping to lift it out of negative territory from previous days.

In company news housebuilder Berkeley Group told investors that it would be slowing down investment into new developments while the housing sector environment remains challenging. It said that sales were down by a quarter in recent weeks compared to the previous five months, reflecting a cooling market. Shares in the FTSE 100-listed company were up by 0.32 per cent.

Shares in car dealership business Pendragon plummeted after its top shareholder withdrew a takeover bid. Swedish car dealer group Hedin had previously proposed a deal that would value Pendragon at £406 million (€473m), but withdrew the offer as a result of challenging economic conditions. Shares in Pendragon closed 28.4 per cent lower at 20.20 pence sterling.

Man Group jumped 5.3 per cent to 215.2p after the investment management firm announced a share buyback programme of up to $125 million (€118.5m).

Anglo American Plc dropped 3.3 per cent to 3,190p after the global miner cut its copper production estimates for 2023 because of deteriorating ore grades at its Chilean mines.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were DS Smith, up 14.7p to 327.7p, Intercontinental Hotels Group, up 194p to 4,986p, Prudential, up 32p to 1,090.5p, Rolls-Royce Holdings, up 2.66p to 94.05p, and Halma, up 56p to 2,133p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Frasers Group, down 32p to 782.5p, Anglo-American, down 109.5p to 3,190p, GSK, down 25.8p to 1,457.8p, Tesco, down 3p to 227.9p, Fresnillo, down 11.4p to 874p.


European markets moved higher. The German Dax rose 0.74 per cent and the French Cac closed 0.73 per cent higher, while the Europe-wide Stoxx 600 closed 0.8 per cent higher, snapping a five-day losing streak.

Speculation that US central bankers could opt for a moderate 0.5 per cent interest rate hike next week and signs that China was easing Covid curbs boosted investors’ mood.

Industrial giants Siemens, which rose 1.1 per cent to €133.44, and Schneider Electric, which climbed 2.3 per cent to €138.38, helped boost European markets.

Credit Suisse jumped 6.8 per cent to 3.14 Swiss francs (€3.19) after the embattled bank hailed a “milestone” in its turnaround plan on Thursday after raising 2.24 billion francs as part of a 4 billion franc cash call.

Vestas gained 6.4 per cent to 203.30 Danish kroner as the wind turbine maker announced new orders and analysts at UBS raised their price target for the manufacturer.


Wall Street posted modest gains as investors assessed mixed economic data and on hopes that the US Federal Reserve would opt for a 50-basis point rate hike at its policy meeting next week.

Netflix gained 5.9 per cent after Wells Fargo upgraded the streaming giant’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight”.

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing gained 1.4 per cent on a report of plans to announce a deal with United Airlines for 787 Dreamliners next week. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, PA, Reuters