European shares clocked their best day in more than a week on Friday, as upbeat jobs data from the United States and a surprise bounce in Chinese manufacturing tempered nerves around slowing global growth.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.7 per cent higher, while German shares, heavily export-oriented, were also up 0.7 per cent. US job growth slowed less than expected in October, while a private business survey indicated that China's factory activity unexpectedly expanded at the fastest pace in more than two years last month. The latest data out of China is in contrast to an official survey published on Thursday, which had factory activity shrinking for the sixth straight month in October.
"It's like icing on the cake with those stronger-than-expected numbers in the wake of an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve, " said Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index.
AIB was the springer in the market, jumping 5.5 per cent following news that the majority State-owned lender had agreed to sell a non-performing loan portfolio with a face value of €850 million to US private equity group Cerberus at a discount of 18 per cent. The portfolio is predominantly underpinned by investment properties. Rival Bank of Ireland rose just under 1 per cent amid a positive day for European financials generally.
Ryanair rose 2.5 per cent ahead of results next week and positive news for the sector. Troubled food group Glanbia rose 1.3 per cent to €10.12 after a difficult week. Shares in the Kilkenny-headquartered company are down 40 per cent this year amid a fall-off in earnings across its performance nutrition division.
Ferry firm Irish Continental Group rose 2.5 per cent to €4.39 amid signs a no-deal Brexit may be off the cards for now. Packaging group Smurfit Kappa rose 2 per cent to €30.60 following a positive trading update earlier in the week.
Oil heavyweights and miners led the charge on London’s FTSE 100 on Friday as Chinese factory data and a stronger-than-expected US employment report helped the index to bounce back from its worst session in a month. The FTSE 100 advanced 0.8 per cent, recouping almost all of its more than 1 per cent drop in the previous session.
The mining sector enjoyed its best day on the market in more than nine months, with Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American rising more than 3 per cent to top the main board. Oil majors Shell and BP both gained 1.6 per cent to boost the blue-chip index further. Sterling, meanwhile, was steady as investors brace for a UK general election in December.
After a volatile week packed with corporate news and conflicting tones on the trade front, the benchmark index registered its fourth straight weekly gain with a 0.4 per cent rise.
Danish stocks outperformed their European peers with a 2.5 per cent jump, boosted by transport and logistics services company DSV Panalpina, which gained 7.4 per cent after reporting strong third-quarter results. Drugmaker Novo Nordisk rose 3.6 per cent after raising its sales outlook for 2019 on the back of its new drugs for type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Among disappointing earnings, Denmark's biggest lender, Danske Bank, slid 4 per cent after narrowing its annual profit outlook as it grapples to restore trust after being involved in one of the world's biggest money-laundering scandals.
Wall Street’s main indices climbed on Friday, as concerns over global growth were allayed by largely upbeat US jobs report and data out of China that showed factory activity had expanded at its fastest pace in more than two years. The tech-heavy Nasdaq hit a record high for the first time since July, while the benchmark S&P 500 notched its fourth record high this week.
Among stocks, oil major Exxon Mobil rose 2 per cent after it beat recently lowered third-quarter profit expectations. The energy sector gained more than 1.89 per cent , rising the most among S&P sectors.
Qorvo jumped 18.2 per cent after the Apple supplier announced a $1 billion share buyback plan and forecast third-quarter revenue above expectations. When rumours of Fitbit's potential buyout by Google surfaced earlier this week, its shares soared almost 30 per cent . The stock jumped another 15 per cent at the opening bell on Friday after news of the $2.1 billion deal was confirmed. – Additional reporting: Reuters