European stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday, buoyed by robust earnings from food and technology stocks, as the European Central Bank kept its massive stimulus taps open and maintained its view that a recent spike in inflation would be temporary.
In the US, the Nasdaq hit a record high, led by mega-cap companies Apple, Amazon. com and Tesla, while solid results from Caterpillar and Merck helped investors shrug off signs of slowing economic growth.
The Iseq index rose almost 0.4 per cent on Thursday. Ryanair rose almost 3 per cent to €16.36, as it announced a renewed focus on customer service, promising to pay customer refunds where due within five working days. It was criticised during the pandemic for its handling of the issue.
AIB rose almost 0.5 per cent to €2.33, as it announced Scottish native Jim Pettigrew as its next chairman. The former Virgin Money chairman succeeds Richard Pym, who stepped down earlier this year.
Permanent TSB shares rose almost 3 per cent to €1.56 each. The bank released an update showing new lending rose 50 per cent in the year to date and non-performing loans fell to €1 billion.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent, led by oil major Royal Dutch Shell after it missed quarterly profit estimates, although forecast-beating earnings from Lloyds Banking Group and ad firm WPP checked overall declines.
Shell fell 3 per cent after its third-quarter adjusted earnings came in below analysts’ forecast, while rival BP dropped 1.6 per cent.
High street lender Lloyds gained 1.3 per cent after beating analyst estimates for third-quarter results as Britain’s economy rebounded from pandemic lockdowns.
WPP jumped 8.1 per cent as the world’s biggest advertising company lifted its full-year underlying net sales guidance again.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index fell 0.1 per cent.
British aerospace engineer and takeover target Meggitt was flat after it warned of lower annual revenue and profit as it struggles with supply-chain problems and weak defence markets.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.2 per cent higher with food and beverage and technology sectors gaining 1.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.
Beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev surged 10.3 per cent on a surprise rise in third-quarter profit, while French IT services provider Capgemini added 6.0 per cent on strong earnings and outlook.
Anheuser-Busch was the top boost to the Belgian stock benchmark, which jumped 1.7 per cent. But broader gains were held back by weak earnings from the energy and automobile sectors.
Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, dropped 4.5 per cent after cutting its outlook for deliveries and reporting lower-than-expected quarterly profit due to the global chip crunch. The wider auto index fell 0.8 per cent.
Swedish online gambling firm Evolution slumped 8.2 per cent, and was among the worst performers on the Stoxx 600 after a disappointing quarterly report.
Airbus rose 1.8 per cent after the world's largest commercial planemaker raised its full-year financial targets.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced, with technology hitting an all-time high and consumer discretionary rising more than 1 per cent. Shares of Tesla rose 3.4 per cent. Apple and e-commerce giant Amazon.com gained 2.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively, ahead of their earnings reports later in the day that would wrap up a largely upbeat reporting season for Wall Street’s tech titans.
Ford Motor Co jumped 8.4 per cent after the carmaker topped third-quarter profit estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast.
Caterpillar added 3.2 per cent after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit on rising commodity prices, while a forecast raise by drugmaker Merck helped its shares gain 4.6 per cent.
Among the biggest losers, EBay fell 7.5 per cent after the e-commerce firm forecast downbeat holiday-quarter revenue.– Additional reporting: Reuters