European shares rose, with those in Britain capping their biggest jump since June, after the Bank of England unveiled fresh stimulus measures to help the economy cope with the fallout from the Brexit vote.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.7 per cent, after closing near a three-week low on Wednesday. It rallied as much as 0.9 per cent after the Bank of England cut its key rate for the first time since 2009 and announced measures including expanding the central bank’s balance sheet and a lending programme for banks.
Across the water, Wall Street was little changed in early trading as investors were wary of making big bets ahead of Friday’s payrolls report.
The Iseq index closed the day slightly higher, up 41.87 points to 5,756.26 with
Bank of Ireland
by far and away the best performer. The bank staged a strong rebound after a couple of difficult days although volumes were low. It closed up 8.l5 per cent at 18 cent.
Paddy Power Betfair received a boost after rival Ladbrokes reported a better-than-expected 34 per cent rise in first-half operating profit. Shares in Paddy Power Betfair gained 4 per cent to close at €104.30.
Ryanair was flat at €11.75 after EasyJet published solid passenger figures.
Kerry Group, which issued an interim trading statement on Thursday showing revenues had risen 3.2 per cent to €3 billion, was down nearly 1 per cent at €76.50.
Britain’s top share index rallied after the Bank of England cut interest rates, although pharmaceuticals company
and precious metals mining group
slumped after poor updates.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed 1.6 per cent higher at 6,740.16 points, bouncing back from a new three-week low of 6,615.83 early in the session.
Banking sector stocks Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland pared gains after the Bank of England decision, with Lloyds ending 1 per cent lower, and mid-cap challenger bank CYBG fell 1.8 per cent.
UK house-builders, however, reversed their losses after the rate cut, with the UK Real Estate index rising 2 per cent.
Mid-cap outsourcing firm Serco Group surged 10.5 per cent after raising its 2016 profit forecast for the second time this year and said Britain's vote to leave the EU could bring opportunities as well as costs.
European shares rose as a rise in the shares of major financial and industrial stocks such as
boosted the region’s equity markets.
Shares in Siemens rose 4.5 per cent after the German industrial group lifted its full-year earnings forecast for the second time this year.
French company BIC also surged 4.4 per cent after the stationery and shavers group confirmed its 2016 financial outlook, while insurer Aviva climbed 5 per cent after reporting higher interim profits.
Swedish security company Securitas touched a record high as strength in its North American business helped it deliver earnings growth that beat the last quarter.
Hannover RE slid 4.8 per cent after big damage claims contributed to a sharper than expected 15 per cent fall in quarterly net profit at the German reinsurer.
Wall Street was flat in early trading as investors held back ahead of jobs data to be published on Friday.
The crucial monthly hiring data will help investors gauge the health of the economy and offer clues about when the Federal Reserve could pull the trigger on rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.95 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 18,356.95 early in the day. The S&P 500 index was up 2.09 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 2,165.88. The Nasdaq Composite was up 9.20 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 5,168.94.
Facebook's stock rose 1.6 per cent to $124.50 and was the biggest driver of the S&P and the Nasdaq. Metlife dropped nearly 10 per cent after the largest US life insurer's quarterly profit missed estimates. Ball jumped 8.5 per cent after its quarterly sales rose and was the top percentage gainer on the S&P 500. – (Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg)