Airlines fly high as European markets end good week on a high note

Financial services also fared well after strong earnings season for US banks

Positive earnings news boosted European shares on Friday, lifting markets to their best weekly performance in seven months and easing investors' inflation fears. Airlines fared particularly well as the United States announced a date for opening its borders to incoming travellers.


Heavyweights CRH, Flutter and Ryanair lifted the Irish market on Friday, dealers said.

Building materials giant CRH advanced 1.42 per cent to €40.67, beating many of the inflation worries that have dogged the stock prices of its peers in the US, where the Irish group does much of its business.

Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment added 2.3 per cent to close at €173.35.


Ryanair rose 2.1 per cent to €17.30 as investors once again warmed to airlines. Earlier air navigation body Eurocontrol predicted that European aviation's recovery could come in 2023, quicker than many had believed.

Packager Smurfit Kappa was one of the few big names to lose ground, shedding 2.37 per cent to close at €44.49. Dealers said investors worried that the group could struggle to pass on all raw material price increases to customers.

“Sentiment and indices” drove much of Friday’s business in Dublin, traders said, noting there was little in the way of stock-specific news on the day.


Aer Lingus and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines' Group (IAG) added 3.25 per cent to 182.92 pence sterling as investors warmed to its industry once again.

The group announced that finance chief Steve Gunning would step down after it reports its 2021 results next year. Whitbread's Nicholas Cadbury will take his place.

Low-cost carrier Easyjet, a key rival of Ryanair, gained 2.16 per cent to 644.2p.

UK-listed shares of Rio Tinto fell 1.4 per cent to 5,038p after the Australian mining company cut its 2021 iron ore shipments forecast, blaming a tight labour market.

Education group Pearson slumped 14.9 per cent to 620.4p, sending it to the bottom of the bluechip FTSE-100 index. The company warned that enrolments at community colleges in the US had been hit by a recent surge in Covid-19 cases.

Banks gained 1.8 per cent on the day and gave the second biggest boost to the index, with HSBC Holdings adding 1.9 per cent to 434.2p after Barclays and Bank of America raised their price targets on the stock.


The benchmark Stoxx 600 index, which covers leading shares in 18 European markets gained 0.7 per cent on Friday, bringing its climb for the week to 2.7 per cent.

Air France KLM climbed 4.64 per cent to €4.21 on what was a good day for airlines. German rival Lufthansa added 4.56 per cent to €6.01.

Swiss banking software firm Temenos tumbled 13.7 per cent to 115.20 Swiss francs after its results.

German fashion retailer Hugo Boss climbed 1 per cent to €53.20 when it raised its outlook for the current year after third-quarter earnings rebounded on the back of strong demand in Europe and the Americas.

French cloud computing services company OVHCloud rose 8.7 per cent on its Paris stock market debut.


US stocks climbed on Friday and the main indices were set for weekly gains after Goldman Sachs capped a strong earnings season for big banks, while a surprise rise in retail sales raised optimism about economic recovery.

Goldman Sachs gained 2.7 per cent as a record wave of dealmaking activity drove a surge in the bank's quarterly profit. Other big lenders, including JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, rose between 0.9 per cent and 6.9 per cent. The banking index added 1.6 per cent, tracking a rise in 10-year Treasury yields.

The S&P 1500 Airlines index jumped 0.9 per cent, while cruise operators Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings added between 1.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

Moderna rose 1.3 per cent after a US Food and Drug Administration panel on Thursday voted to recommend booster shots of its Covid-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and high-risk people.

Western Digital slipped 1.1 per cent as Goldman Sachs downgraded the storage hardware maker's stock to "neutral" from "buy". – Additional reporting: Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas