Europe stocks up despite weak volumes

Next Plc leads retailer rally in UK with jump of 10 per cent to 6,085 pence

Remy Cointreau, the producer of Remy Martin cognac, slipped 2.6 per cent to €58.91. Photograph: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Remy Cointreau, the producer of Remy Martin cognac, slipped 2.6 per cent to €58.91. Photograph: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


UK stocks advanced as did markets in mainland Europe while in the US the market fluctuated. Dublin’s Iseq index rose 0.88 per cent, to close at 4,594.72. Traders said that while volumes were weak, as would be expected, a number of stocks performed very well.

Construction products provider Kingspan continued to attract investors and finished the day up 2.26 per cent, to close at €13.46. Traders said the price reflected investors’ interest in well-managed companies.

C&C continued to suffer from its foray into the US market but traders said investors were still interested in the stock for speculative reasons. The share closed at €4.31, a fall of 0.92 per cent. Speculation about IFG continued to feed interest. It closed at €1.84, a fall of 0.54 per cent.

Bank of Ireland closed at €0.25, a fall of 0.39 per cent. CRH rose 2.82 per cent, to close at €18.99.

Tullow, which announced on Christmas Eve that a well on the Mantra prospect offshore Norway has encountered reservoir quality sands but all intervals are water wet and that the well would be plugged, rose 0.04 per cent, to close at €10.22.

Independent News & Media was trading well, with traders saying there appeared to be a buyer in the market. It closed at €0.12, a rise of 6.09 per cent.

UK stocks advanced, even as the FTSE 100 Index posted its first weekly decline in three weeks, as Next Plc led a rally by retailers.

Next rallied the most in almost four years after the clothing company increased its full- year profit forecast and said it will pay shareholders an additional dividend. Shares jumped 10 per cent to 6,085 pence.

Marks and Spencer Group Plc and Asos Plc, which both report sales this month, gained at least 3.5 per cent.

The FTSE 100 rose 12.76 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6,730.67 at the close of trading in London as more than two stocks climbed for every one that dropped. The broader FTSE All-Share Index added 0.3 per cent today.

Schroders Plc added 1.2 per cent to 2,636 pence, rising for a ninth day – its longest streak of gains since 2009. Barclays Plc upgraded its rating on the asset manager to overweight, similar to a buy recommendation, from underweight.

European stocks rose, recouping some steep losses suffered in the first session of the year, with Telecom Italia surging 5.6 per cent on speculation of a sale of its Brazilian wireless unit TIM Brasil.

Shares in Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo also featured among the top gainers, up 6.6 per cent, benefiting from a fall in the country’s sovereign bond yields and catching up with recent gains in the country’s banking sector.

Germany‘s DAX index was 0.5 per cent higher, France’s CAC 40 was up 0.6 per cent, and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was 0.6 per cent higher, at 3,079.56.

Remy Cointreau, the producer of Remy Martin cognac, slipped 2.6 per cent to €58.91 after the resignation of Frederic Pflanz as chief executive officer. Swiss Re Ltd, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, retreated 2.3 per cent to 80.20 Swiss francs, its biggest drop since August 6th.

US stocks fluctuated, after the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index started the year lower for the first time since 2008, following the biggest annual rallies for benchmark indexes in more than 15 years.

Verizon Communications Inc slid 1.5 per cent to $48.29 for the biggest retreat in the Dow. T-Mobile US Inc lost 4 per cent to $32.05.

AT&T is targeting customers of smaller rival T-Mobile by offering customers of the fourth largest US carrier as much as $450 in credits for devices and services for each line they switch. AT&T fell 0.4 per cent to $34.81. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters)