European shares ended a four-day losing streak on Wednesday with shares of Telecom Italia leading gains, but fears around Europe's worsening Covid-19 situation and the prospect of severe restrictions restrained the market.
European stocks are on course for weekly losses as the return of pandemic curbs, rate hike and inflation concerns sparked fears of a weaker economic growth outlook.
The Iseq slipped 0.6 per cent in Wednesday's session, with losses contained by gains for CRH and Ryanair. The building materials group added 1.4 per cent to €45.65, while the airline rose 0.9 per cent to €15.70 despite declines for travel stocks across Europe.
Bank of Ireland also nudged into the green, rising 0.3 per cent to €5.10, while real estate investment trust stock Hibernia Reit added 1.1 per cent to €1.27.
Elsewhere, several key names declined, with food group Kerry falling 3.1 per cent to €110.90 and insulation-maker Kingspan down 1.9 per cent at €97.62. Glanbia fell 1.8 per cent to €12.14, while Flutter Entertainment dropped 1.9 per cent to €128.90.
Dalata Hotel Group ended 1.4 per cent lower at €3.64 and AIB closed down 2.7 per cent at just below €2.09.
The FTSE 100 gained 0.3 per cent after hitting one-week highs earlier in the session. BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose over 1 per cent each with crude prices inching up as investors questioned the effectiveness of a US-led release of oil from strategic reserves. Miners added 0.5 per cent, supported by higher copper prices.
Mulberry soared after reporting demand for its luxury products was back at pre-pandemic levels with sales in the UK and Asia powering a 34 per cent surge in first-half revenue.
The domestically focused FTSE 250 index fell 0.1 per cent weighed by weakness in healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks. IQE, which makes semiconductor wafers for chips, slumped 24.3 per cent after it forecast lower annual profit margin and revenue.
Asset manager Brewin Dolphin slid 6.1 per cent after warning of market volatility ahead.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index climbed 0.1 per cent after recording its worst session in nearly two months on Tuesday amid a continental resurgence in coronavirus cases and fears of rising interest rates.
Telecom Italia surged 15.6 per cent, lifting the European telecoms sector by 1.2 per cent, following news reports that KKR is considering boosting its offer for the company after top investor Vivendi called the initial one too low.
Spiking coronavirus cases and supply chain constraints clouded Germany’s growth outlook as the Ifo institute said business morale deteriorated for the fifth month running in November, pushing the country’s Dax index 0.4 per cent lower.
Meanwhile, German Social Democrat Olaf Scholz said he had reached a deal with the Free Democrats and Greens to form a new coalition government that will end the Angela Merkel era.
German medical equipment maker Draegerwerk plunged 12 per cent after saying it expected sales and earnings to drop next year, citing weak demand for pandemic-related products.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose as positive labour and consumer data boosted economically sensitive sectors, while major technology shares bounced back from two days of steep losses. Most heavyweight technology stocks pared early losses and traded higher by midday.
Weak results from department store operator Nordstrom and fashion retailer Gap somewhat dampened sentiment, however, as both companies flagged supply chain issues ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season. Nordstrom and Gap plunged 28.8 per cent and 22.1 per cent respectively.
Tesla rose 0.9 per cent as chief executive Elon Musk sold another 934,091 shares of the electric vehicle maker worth $1.05 billion (€938 million) after exercising options to buy 2.15 million shares.
Shares of PC makers HP and Dell Technologies jumped 9.3 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively after they logged a more than four-fold rise in quarterly profits. – Additional reporting: Reuters