Banks and miners help European stocks to end higher

US Federal Reserve keep rates unchanged after two-day policy meeting

European shares hit a one-week high on Wednesday before the outcome of a Fed meeting, with banks rallying after a policy overhaul at the Bank of Japan lifted risky assets globally.

The US Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged after a two-day policy meeting amid tepid inflation and weak economic data, but signalled an increased likelihood of a rise by the end of the year.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.4 per cent firmer after rising to 344.90 points earlier in the session, its highest level since September 9th, helped by stronger financials.


The Iseq rose 17 points to 6,094 on Wednesday, reflecting modest gains elsewhere.


Permanent TSB

rose by 4.2 per cent to €1.96 on the back of new property figures, which showed the rebound in prices from 2013 had been stronger than previously thought. Rival

Bank of Ireland

remained flat on the day at 18 cents despite a pick-up in financials across



Ryanair shares rose marginally to €12.68 following a poor run in the previous session linked to a bearish report for the sector. Providence Resources was flat at €0.12 after an up and down week.

Insulation provider Kingspan rose 1.2 per cent to €24.60, trading in line sector rivals across Europe.

Drinks group C&C regained Tuesday's losses, rising 1.2 per cent to close at €3.69.

Iseq heavyweight CRH was up marginally at €29.42 while Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta was up nearly 2 per cent at €36.


Britain’s top shares index rose on Wednesday, buoyed by its banks after the Bank of Japan’s overhaul of its monetary policy framework boosted financial stocks around the world. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.1 per cent at 6,834.77 points, with the index up around 10 per cent so far in 2016.

Barclays outperformed the market , rising 3.1 per cent after HSBC analysts upgraded the bank to "buy" from "neutral".

British banks have suffered since the country voted in June to leave the European Union, with the Bank of England cutting interest rates down to record lows. While those rock-bottom rates have propped up the overall stock market, they risk impacting the profits banks can make via their loans.

However, HSBC's analysts wrote that they reckoned bank equity investors were "too negative on negative rates". Other financial stocks also benefited, with insurer Legal & General climbing 3.7 per cent and Credit Suisse analysts recommended that investors stay "overweight" on financials.


Europe took its cue from Asian markets, which welcomed the Bank of Japan’s decision to adopt a target for long-term interest rates. Investors also awaited the US Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates, which were expected to be left unchanged.

Shares in Natixis and UBI Banca were up 4.1 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively.

Among other sectoral gainers, miners were in demand after prices of gold and aluminium rose. Shares in Anglo American, Fresnillo, Rio Tinto and Randgold Resources advanced 1.9 to 3.6 per cent. Among the fallers, Ocado Group dropped 5.3 per cent after Deutsche Bank cut its rating on the stock to "sell" from "hold", while ADP fell 3 per cent after UBS cut its price target for the stock to €95 from €110.


US stocks fluctuated as declines in


helped dampen a morning rally, while investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate decision.

Optimism over policy adjustments made by the Bank of Japan faded, with an early surge in equities evaporating for a third-straight session.

Apple sank as it is said to be seeking a stake in luxury carmaker McLaren Technology Group. Gains in energy producers were offset by a slide in consumer-staples and biotechnology shares.

The S&P 500 index gained 0.1 per cent to 2,141.84 early on after briefly erasing a 0.6 per cent climb. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 6.71 points to 18,136.67, paring a 94-point climb. The Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed.

Oil extended gains after weekly supply data showed stockpiles declined to the lowest level since February. Apache and Anadarko Petroleum rose at least 3.6 per cent. Adobe Systems was the biggest boost to the benchmark index Wednesday, jumping the most since March after forecasting a better-than-estimated quarterly profit. – (Additional reporting: Reuters)

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times