European and US stocks rise as investors see light at end of pandemic tunnel

Iseq up by 0.4% as some of its heaviest weighted stocks tread water

A weak US jobs report alleviated concerns about rising inflation and potentially higher interest rates which would weigh on the valuations of growth companies. Photograph: AFP via Getty

European stocks closed at a record high on Friday, marking strong weekly gains as positive economic data and upbeat earnings underpinned hopes of a swift economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the US, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrials hit record highs, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq index also jumped after weak US jobs data eased worries about the US Federal Reserve reducing its massive stimulus programme.


The Iseq rose by 0.4 per cent, lagging the performance of some of its European peers, as a few of the index's biggest stocks such as Smurfit Kappa and Kingspan failed to fire.

The banks all performed well, however, as optimism grew regarding the prospects for economic growth after the pandemic.


A day after its trading update, AIB rose 1.1 per cent to close out the session at €2.49 per share. Bank of Ireland was ahead by 1.9 per cent to almost €5.03 per share. Permanent TSB, meanwhile, streaked ahead by 8.2 per cent to close at €1.52.

Ryanair rose by 2.7 per cent to close at €17.50 per share, as the UK moved a step closer towards reopening travel to summer hotspots served by the airline.


The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 1.2 per cent, with industrial stocks, including EasyJet, IMI and PageGroup, rising between 2.7 per cent and 5.1 per cent.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.7 per cent, clocking its best week since April, with Melrose Industries adding 1.8 per cent after Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the engineer's shares.

Mining stocks, mainly Anglo American, Glencore and Rio Tinto, provided the biggest boost on the index, gaining between 0.7 per cent and 3.6 per cent.

Meggitt jumped 8.3 per cent on a report that US group Woodward was looking to acquire the UK aero-engineer.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.9 per cent to a record high of 444.93 points. The German Dax rose 1.3 per cent, inching closer to its lifetime high, while France’s CAC 40 ended at its highest level since November 2000.

Data showed German companies increased their exports for the 11th month in a row in March, with growth coming in at 1.2 per cent, twice the rate economists had forecast.

On the earnings front, German sportswear company Adidas surged 8.4 per cent after it raised its 2021 sales outlook.

Jewellery maker Pandora gained 3 per cent after reporting 214 per cent sales growth in April. French mall owner Klepierre edged lower on trimming its 2021 cashflow forecast.

Spanish energy and infrastructure group Acciona rose 2.3 per cent after it said it expects to list a stake in its energy business in the first half of this year.

New York

The US jobs report alleviated concerns about rising inflation and potentially higher interest rates, which would weigh on the valuations of growth companies. Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher in early afternoon trading, with a 1.3 per cent rise in technology stocks leading the advance.

Highly valued stocks such as Microsoft, Apple and Facebook rose between 0.4 per cent and 1.7 per cent.

Financials dropped 0.1 per cent, with interest-rate-sensitive shares of lenders Bank of America, JP Morgan and Citigroup trading lower. The S&P 500 banks sector fell 0.4 per cent.

Payments firm Square rose 6.3 per cent after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as surging demand for bitcoin fuelled a jump in cryptocurrency transactions on its application.

Streaming-device maker Roku jumped 11.5 per cent following upbeat revenue outlook, while fitness equipment maker Peloton Interactive gained 6.1 per cent as it laid out steps to improve the safety of the equipment. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times