Car-makers and retailers lead way as European shares rally

Dublin stages comeback as shares in Ryanair, Smurfit and Glanbia gain ground

European markets rallied from last week’s wipeout as car-makers and retailers made gains yesterday. However, a further fall in crude oil prices dampened trade in the US.

Traders said markets performed better than in the first week of 2016 when fears about China sent shares tumbling, but noted that investors have yet to show "any enthusiasm" for equities. DUBLIN The Irish market staged a comeback, with a number of leading shares gaining ground yesterday.

Ryanair climbed 2.11 per cent to close at €15.265. Traders said oil's continued decline and a note from Barclays setting a target share price for the company prompted the move for the carrier. Investors bought 1.5 million of its shares in Dublin yesterday.

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa added to the strong gains made on Monday, finishing 1.19 per cent ahead at €23.845.


Food group Glanbia also had a good day, adding 1.59 per cent to €17.27, a move that tracked the market's performance, which was up about 1.5 per cent.

Bank of Ireland gained 1.25 per cent to close at 32.5 cent, with around 60 million of it shares changing hands. Property investor Hibernia Reit fell 1.36 per cent to €1.306, while Green Reit added 1.02 per cent to €1.49.

AIB fell 8.36 per cent to €6.139 on trades totalling just over 3,000 shares. LONDON Irish-headquartered London-listed Grafton, which issued a trading statement reiterating that 2015 profits are likely to be between €125-€127 million, fell 1.78 per cent to 719p sterling. Traders noted that while the DIY specialist and builders merchant's statement was positive the stock was weak throughout the day.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 1 per cent at 5,929.24 points, still down 17 per cent from a record high of 7,122.7 points reached last April.

Retailers were among the best performers. Monthly data from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed that number two chain Sainsbury grew sales and market share over Christmas, the only one of the top four in Britain to do so.

Tesco shares surged 6.7 per cent, while Sainsbury rose 3.3 per cent, with Marks & Spencer also advancing around 1 per cent. Rival supermarket chain Morrisons, which is in the FTSE 250 mid-cap index, also had an 8.7 per cent rise in its share price after its sales figures beat forecasts.

However, mining stocks fell as copper prices stayed near 6½-year lows due to the worries over a slowdown in China. EUROPE A rally in car-makers pushed European stocks to their best performance of the year as investors assessed valuations following a four-day losing streak.

Auto-related companies rose the most on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index after an industry association forecast an acceleration in Chinese sales this year.

Germany’s DAX index, which relies heavily on exporters including carmakers, was among the best performing western European markets, adding 1.6 per cent and paring its loss this year to 7.1 per cent. US US stocks were flat in afternoon trading after an early rally was wiped out as crude oil prices once again held the markets hostage.

The health sector was one of the few bright spots. Anthem's raised 2016 profit forecast led to a rally in health insurers, keeping health stocks up. Anthem rose 4.5 per cent, Aetna was up 2.8 per cent, and Cigna 2.4 per cent. United Health rose 1.7 per cent.

Apple was up 0.8 per cent at $99.35, while Intel rose 0.9 per cent to $32.35 after positive ratings.

The consumer discretionary sector eked out a 0.5 per cent gain led by a 2 per cent jump in Starbucks to $58.98 after the coffee chain said it has not seen a slowdown in China.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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