World stocks edged higher and the dollar crept up from eight-month lows on Friday in advance of monetary policy decisions next week by major central banks including the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.
The Irish index of shares closed marginally higher on Friday, gaining just under 0.4 per cent to end the week at 7,984.
Banking shares held on to marginal gains, with Bank of Ireland up 0.2 per cent at €9.82, and AIB adding 0.46 per cent, ending the session at €3.90.
Shares in construction company CRH were up 0.6 per cent to €42.36, while Kingspan added more than 4 per cent to finish the day at €61.38. Food group Glanbia was marginally higher at €11.20. Shares in Ryanair rose 2.5 per cent to €15.52.
Banking shares showed muted gains, with AIB and Bank of Ireland up 0.46 per cent and 0.22 per cent respectively. Permanent TSB added 2.4 per cent over the session to end at €2.10.
Gains were offset by a decline in Flutter shares of 1.86 per cent, falling to €142.40, while Kerry Group was off just over half a per cent, closing at €85.30.
Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat on Friday with investors cautious ahead of next week’s major central bank decisions. The index closed the day at 7,765.15.
Aerospace company Rolls-Royce dropped 2.9 per cent after its new CEO Tufan Erginbilgic told staff at the main British site in Derby that the company’s performance was “unsustainable” and it faced a “last chance” to change.
Weakness in the materials sector as well as consumer staples firms such as Diageo capped gains on the FTSE 100 index.
Among company news, Sainsbury’s rose almost 5.5 per cent after Bestway amassed a 3.45 per cent stake in Britain’s second-largest supermarket group but said it is not considering a takeover offer.
Superdry tumbled 17.7 per cent after the fashion retailer profit forecast for the year and its forecast to broadly break-even as its wholesale segment underperformed.
The pan-European STOXX 600 climbed for the second straight day, adding 0.2 per cent.
Fashion retailer H & fell 4 per cent as it reported a much larger-than-expected drop in operating profit for the September-to-November period.
Rémy Cointreau slipped 3.7 per cent after the French spirits maker posted lower third-quarter sales.
On a brighter note, shares of luxury firms such as Compagnie Financière Richemont and Moncler rose between 1 per cent and 2.4 per cent after LVMH posted forecast-beating quarterly sales on strong US and European demand.
Banks rose 0.6 per cent with Europe’s top lenders such as Italy’s UniCredit to report results in the coming days. Italy’s banking-heavy stock index rose 0.8 per cent to hit a near one-year high.
Among other stocks, SSAB gained 10 per cent as the Swedish steelmaker announced higher dividend and proposed stock buyback.
Signify advanced 5.6 per cent after the world’s largest lighting maker gave a more upbeat forecast for operating profitability for 2023.
Wall Street pared some of its initial gains on Friday, trading near break even.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.14 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.18 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.51 per cent.
American Express jumped 9.8 per cent on raising its earnings forecast for 2023 above Wall Street expectations, while credit card rival Visa added 3.4 per cent on upbeat quarterly results.
Both companies were among the biggest boosts to the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Capping gains, Intel tumbled almost 8 per cent after the company reported its worst revenue slump in at least two decades and warned of additional losses amid weak demand for personal computers.
Chevron, the second largest US oil producer, fell 2.5 per cent as quarterly earnings missed analysts’ estimates due to asset writedowns and a retreat in oil and gas prices. – Additional reporting: Reuters
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