European shares rose for a third consecutive day as sentiment brightened on hopes for a faster global economic recovery and Italian stocks advanced after a political breakthrough.
A pause in the social media driven rally that drove up prices of silver as well as certain stocks including GameStop also helped calm worries about potential losses incurred by some hedge funds causing disruption to stock markets as a whole.
The Iseq rose 0.5 per cent in line with the mostly positive performance across the major European indices. Ryanair was the standout performer, with its share price advancing 3.8 per cent to €15.63, adding to the 4 per cent gain it recorded on Tuesday and 1.1 per cent rise on Monday as it published quarterly results.
Elsewhere, few of the leading stocks registered major changes, although AIB fell 2.3 per cent to €1.54. It was a better session for Bank of Ireland, which rose 0.4 per cent to €3.33, while food groups Kerry and Glanbia both nudged upwards. Kerry finished at €115.10, up 0.4 per cent, while cheesemaker Glanbia was 0.5 per cent higher at €10.33.
Insulation group Kingspan was among the fallers, declining 0.5 per cent to €55.95, and ferries operator Irish Continental Group also slipped, closing down 0.7 per cent at €4.05. CRH, the largest stock on the Dublin market, added 0.4 per cent to close at €35.88.
London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index slipped 0.1 per cent, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index added 0.3 per cent.
GlaxoSmithKline slid 6.3 per cent after it warned of a bigger than expected fall in 2021 earnings after a weak fourth quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt other healthcare treatments.
Vodafone jumped 5.9 per cent despite a slump in mobile roaming revenues after sales rose unexpectedly for the first time since March, while oil giants rebounded from their Tuesday slides. BP added 1.3 per cent a day after it revealed an annual loss, while Royal Dutch Shell rose 1.8 per cent ahead of its earnings release due on Thursday.
Rolls-Royce was among the fallers, sliding 3 per cent, while Diageo dropped 2.1 per cent.
Italian shares posted their best session in four weeks, with Milan's FTSE MIB index closing up 2.1 per cent after former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi accepted the task of forming a new government.
A surge in German carmaker Daimler lifted an index of broader European shares, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index gaining 0.3 per cent. In Frankfurt, the Dax rose 0.7 per cent to hit its highest level in two weeks, while the Cac 40 in Paris was flat.
Daimler soared 8.9 per cent after it unveiled plans to spin off its trucks business.
Upbeat earnings from other companies helped push gains on the Stoxx 600 to a third straight day, with Novo Nordisk, Siemens and Publicis Groupe all rising after reporting results. Dutch-Belgian drugmaker Argenx was the top gainer, swelling almost 12 per cent after it raised $1 billion in capital increase.
Wall Street stocks rose in early trading, with the S&P 500 trading 0.35 per cent higher and the Nasdaq up 0.5 per cent, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, rose 8.2 per cent after strong quarterly results, which helped push the communication services index to an all-time high. There were more modest gains for other tech stocks.
Videogame retailer GameStop rose 12.9 per cent to $101.60, clawing back ground after plunging from a peak of $483 last week.
Economic data showed companies added more jobs than forecast in January, while growth at US service providers unexpectedly accelerated. The scattered signs of an economic pick-up come as president Joe Biden tries to win congressional passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal. – Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg.