European markets lifted by EU’s €750bn economy recovery plan

US technology stocks under pressure

A sell-off in technology stocks dragged on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in early trading. Photograph: Getty

A sell-off in technology stocks dragged on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in early trading. Photograph: Getty

 

Euro zone stocks rose on Wednesday after the EU proposed a €750 billion plan to prop up economies hammered by the coronavirus crisis. Share price falls for healthcare and technology stocks weighed on broader European markets, however.

The euro zone equities index finished 1.1 per cent higher after jumping as much as 1.6 per cent, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.2 per cent.

Dublin

The Iseq closed up 0.5 per cent on a generally optimistic day for traders, with banking stocks leading the gains. Bank of Ireland rose 7.2 per cent to just under €1.80, while AIB finished up 7.4 per cent at €1.13. There was also a gain for ferries operator Irish Continental Group, which soared 8.1 per cent to €3.55, through Ryanair slid 1.6 per cent to €11.67.

Food group Glanbia was another faller, closing down 2.5 per cent at €9.50, while packaging giant Smurfit Kappa finished 0.5 per cent lower at €30.04. Insulation-maker Kingspan also declined, ending 3.1 per cent lower at €54.30. There was a 3.8 per cent drop to 87 cent for Cairn Homes, while Glenveagh Properties fell 2.4 per cent to 65 cent.

Index heavyweight CRH had a better day, with the cement-maker rising 3.7 per cent to €29.23, while Covid-battered Dalata Hotel Group also managed a climb, closing up 0.3 per cent at €3.29.

London

London-listed stocks notched up their strongest close since early March amid sustained hopes of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, even as unrest in Hong Kong cast some doubt over China-US relations.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 added 1.3 per cent, while the domestically focused FTSE 250 rose 1.2 per cent in anticipation of thousands of retailers emerging from lockdowns next month, while reports of a bigger-than-expected euro zone stimulus package also helped sentiment.

Travel-related stocks surged again to advance 10 per cent in just two days as Germany and Spain started to ease travel restrictions. Asset manager St James’s Place rose 8.3 per cent and was among the biggest gainers on the FTSE 100 after reporting a 1 per cent gain in April net inflows.

British Land jumped 7.4 per cent even as the real estate firm racked up a £1.1 billion pound loss in its year ended March 31st.

Europe

The Dax rose 1.3 per cent in Germany, while the French Cac 40 advanced 1.8 per cent. Buoyed by the EU’s pandemic recovery plan, Spain’s banking-heavy Ibex jumped 2.4 per cent, with Banco Santander and BBVA rising 4.9 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively.

Euro zone banks climbed 4.8 per cent, with French lenders BNP Paribas and Société Générale leading gains. Italy’s banking index rose 2.6 per cent.

Aside from banks, other hard-hit sectors including travel and leisure and automakers rallied. Renault jumped 17.5 per cent after the French carmaker and Nissan Motor doubled down on a plan to co-operate on production to save costs and salvage their troubled alliance.

Easing of lockdowns in several European countries and improving economic data have spurred buying in growth-exposed cyclical sectors in recent weeks, putting European stocks on course for a 2.8 per cent gain in May.

US

A sell-off in technology stocks dragged on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in early trading, with investors also cautious about brewing US-China tensions at a time when policymakers are attempting to revive the global economy from a coronavirus-driven slump.

Index heavyweights Amazon. com, Microsoft and Facebook, which have led a recent rally, were down more than 2 per cent, while healthcare and technology – outperformers in the coronavirus-led market slump – were among the S&P 500 sectors in the red.

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with financials leading gains. – Additional reporting: Reuters