Bank stocks boost European markets

Investors’ fears of stimulus tapering in the US ease as inflation weakens

Ocado said it had settled a legal spat with its co-founder and a former employee after they allegedly secured confidential documents from the UK online retail firm while they set up a competitor. Photograph: PA

Ocado said it had settled a legal spat with its co-founder and a former employee after they allegedly secured confidential documents from the UK online retail firm while they set up a competitor. Photograph: PA

 

European shares stayed just below record highs on Friday, with a boost from the financial and materials sectors.

In New York, the S&P 500 index hit a record high, boosted by gains in Nike and bank stocks, while weaker-than-expected inflation data eased worries about a sudden tapering in stimulus by the US Federal Reserve.

Dublin

The Iseq fell just under 0.2 per cent on light trading volumes. Building materials giant CRH gained more than 2.2 per cent to €43.85 on a positive broker’s note. It was among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 in London after brokerage Berenberg raised its target price on the stock.

The two big banks rose in line with financial institutions generally, as investors weighed the prospect that the European Central Bank might change course and raise interest rates soon to combat inflation.

Travel software firm Datalex rose sharply in the afternoon, ending the session up more than 14 per cent to 80 cents per share.

London

Energy and mining stocks led the FTSE 100 higher. Retailers rose 1 per cent, led by gains in JD Sports on Nike’s upbeat forecast and better-than-expected quarterly revenue and as overall retail sales in the UK jumped in June.

The domestically focused mid-cap index rose 0.6 per cent. UDG Healthcare added 1.0 per cent after it said private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) was considering raising its offer to buy the healthcare company to 1,080 pence per share.

British subprime lender Amigo Holdings surged 7.6 per cent after saying it had secured a three-month extension to a funding line as it scrambles to secure its future after a court rejected a rescue plan for the firm last month.

Tesco held its annual shareholder meeting on Friday morning and managed to avoid a repeat of the scenes a year earlier when investors voted against the remuneration report. Just 8.2 per cent voted against the pay package for executives. Shares closed up 1.15p at 224.5p.

Ocado said it has settled a legal spat with its co-founder and a former employee after they secured confidential documents from the online retail firm while they set up a competitor. It said Jonathan Faiman and Jon Hillary have “made a significant payment” to Ocado as part of the settlement. Shares closed up 2.5p at 1,985p.

Europe

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.1 per cent, ending the week with gains of 1 per cent following sharp swings on concerns of higher inflation hitting real income and leading central banks to raise interest rates sooner than expected.

The European banking index rose 0.6 per cent and ended the week with gains of about 2 per cent as investors returned to economically sensitive sectors. Other so-called value stocks including miners and energy were also among the top gainers

Credit Suisse rose after a Reuters report that it was considering a potential merger with UBS. The scandal-hit Swiss bank was up 1.9 per cent as the report said Credit Suisse’s management was under pressure to come up with an overhaul plan. UBS shares were up 0.2 per cent.

New York

Nike surged 13.9 per cent to an all-time high after the sneaker maker forecast fiscal full-year sales ahead of Wall Street estimates, helping the Dow rise 0.69 per cent.

FedEx dropped 4.5 per cent after the US delivery firm missed 2022 earnings forecast due to hiring difficulties.

CarMax jumped 6.3 per cent after the used-car retailer topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue, helped by strong demand as more people opted for personal vehicles over public transport due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Billionaire Richard Branson’s spaceship company Virgin Galactic surged 34.8 per cent after receiving approval from the US aviation safety regulator to fly people to space. – Additional reporting: Reuters/PA