Europe recovers strongly on back of bank shares and good company figures

Iseq closed up 0.4 per cent, having escaped Tuesday’s losses on major European indices

European shares recovered on Wednesday from their biggest one-day loss in five months. A rebound in banking stocks and some positive first-quarter results outweighed weakness in oil and gas stocks and sent markets higher.

However, the FTSE 100 bucked the trend, declining 0.5 per cent as sterling remained strong in the wake of UK prime minister Theresa May’s call for a snap general election.


The Iseq closed up 0.4 per cent, having escaped the losses suffered by major European indices on Tuesday.


Building materials group CRH had a better day, advancing 0.8 per cent to €31.53. Ryanair held onto its Tuesday gains, closing up 0.2 per cent at €15.31, while Bank of Ireland joined in the recovery in bank stocks across Europe, rising 2.5 per cent to 24.5 cent. Hotels group Dalata was also among the risers, adding 1.1 per cent to €4.75.

However, paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa declined 0.9 per cent to €23.87, while on relatively low volume, Paddy Power Betfair slid 1.5 per cent to €99.30.


The blue-chip FTSE 100 index extended the previous session’s losses, giving up its year-to-date gains as sterling strength weighed on its largely dollar-earning constituents.

Luxury fashion group Burberry was the biggest faller, closing down around 8 per cent after it reported a slowdown in its fourth-quarter comparable sales growth rate, saying tough conditions in the US outweighed an "exceptional" performance in its home market.

Companies with a more domestic focus, however, such as grocer Sainsbury, budget airline easyJet and Royal Bank of Scotland, were among the biggest gainers, all up by about 5 per cent.

Heavyweight oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and BP fell, down 2.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively, as did precious metals miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources, both down nearly 3 per cent.

Shares in engineering group Cobham fell 8.7 per cent after 683 million new shares were added to trading in its rights issue, raising £512.4 million.


The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.2 per cent at its close, after hitting a three-week low on Tuesday.

Banking stocks broke a six-day losing streak – their longest run of daily losses for 11 months – to rise 1.8 per cent, making them the top sectoral gainers.

Banco Popular and UniCredit were among top gainers, adding 5.5 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively. Sentiment was helped by analysts at Jefferies initiating coverage on Dutch bank ING Group with a "buy" rating. ING rose 3.8 per cent. Basic resources also bounced back, gaining 0.8 per cent, while oil and gas stocks fell 0.7 per cent as crude prices dipped on bloated US supplies.

French meal voucher group Edenred was a top gainer, up 5 per cent after it posted higher first-quarter revenue growth and maintained its targets.

German retailer Zalando fell 4.8 per cent after it said it was happy with its first-quarter despite margin pressure due to post-Christmas sales discounting.

French media group Vivendi was the top faller on the Cac 40, down 1.1 per cent after Italy's watchdog ordered the firm to cut its stake in Telecom Italia or Mediaset. The Italian broadcaster reversed losses to end 1.6 per cent higher, while Telecom Italia also ended up 1.4 per cent.


Most Wall Street stocks rose in early trading amid corporate earnings reports, with results from Morgan Stanley to Intuitive Surgical sending those stocks higher and boosting the overall S&P 500 Index.

However, a miss on sales forecasts at IBM dragged the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower. IBM shares slumped after the company recorded its 20th consecutive quarterly sales drop. The decline in revenue was bigger than had been expected, sending its shares down almost 5 per cent.

Facebook was up 1.3 per cent and provided the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq.

Additional reporting: Reuters.