S&P 500 stages late rally after earlier plunging into bear territory

European shares finish difficult week with a gain

The S&P 500 recovered from a plunge on Friday, ending the day slightly higher but not before a dramatic swoon that had pushed the index into bear market territory for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

European shares rose, boosted by gains for stocks in defensive sectors after hopes of an economic recovery in major trading partner China were strengthened by more central bank stimulus measures.

Travel and tourism stocks, financial services, healthcare and utilities led gains in Europe, rising 1.5-2 per cent.

Overall, global stock markets have seen another volatile week as recession fears gripped investors after weak Chinese retail sales data and dismal results from big US retailers highlighted the impact of surging inflation.

DUBLIN

The Iseq rose 1.6 per cent in the final trading session of the week, as its biggest stocks joined in the rebound.

Bank of Ireland climbed 3.75 per cent to €5.86 and AIB advanced 2.8 per cent to €2.29 as bank stocks across Europe made gains and as an analyst's note from Bank of America Global Research reiterated its "buy" rating on the two stocks and raised their price targets, citing "outsized upside" to future interest rate rises by the European Central Bank.

Ryanair added 1.6 per cent to €14.30 on a good day for travel stocks, while packaging group Smurfit Kappa rose 1.6 per cent to €36.55.

Flutter Entertainment gained 3.6 per cent to €108.10, while building materials group CRH edged up 0.6 per cent to €37.19.

LONDON

The Ftse 100 rebounded 1.2 per cent on Friday as a move by China to support its economy lifted sentiment at the end of a rocky week for markets, while ecommerce firm THG soared after rejecting a takeover proposal. The domestically focused Ftse 250 index added 0.8 per cent, as mid-cap stocks erased almost all of their weekly declines.

Healthcare and banking stocks were the top boosts to the Ftse 100 after China cut a key lending benchmark by a sharper-than-expected 15 basis points to aid a slowing economy.

THG surged 24.5 per cent as it rejected a takeover proposal from two investment groups and saw buyout interest from property tycoon Nick Candy. Data earlier in the day showed British retail sales jumped unexpectedly in April, but the outlook for consumer spending remained resolutely downbeat as the cost-of-living crunch intensifies.

Among other stocks, M&C Saatchi jumped 29.1 per cent after its independent directors agreed a deal to sell the advertising company to consultancy Next Fifteen Communications.

EUROPE

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.7 per cent, limiting losses for the week to 0.5 per cent. Data showed a record rise in German producer prices last month, as the Ukraine war pushed up energy costs. In Frankfurt the Dax added 0.7 per cent, while the Cac 40 nudged up 0.2 per cent in Paris.

Luxury stocks took a hit as Richemont slumped 13.1 per cent, after the company struck a cautious note over growth in China after its full-year profit disappointed. Other luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, Christian Dior and Hugo Boss lost 1.3-2.2 per cent.

NEW YORK

The S&P 500 ended the week with a loss of 3 percent, its seventh straight weekly decline. That’s its longest stretch of losses since 2001.

At its lowest point on Friday the index was down 2.3 percent, well below the 3,837 level that serves as the current threshold for a bear market — a symbolically important marker of investor pessimism. But it rallied in the final hour of trading to end up 0.57 points — less than 0.02 percent — at 3901.36.

Deere & Co slid 10 per cent after the heavy equipment maker posted downbeat quarterly revenue. Match Group climbed 4.6 per cent index as Alphabet's Google said it would allow the dating apps maker to offer users a choice in payment systems.

VF, owner of the clothing and footwear brand Vans, gained 4.5 per cent after issuing a strong outlook for its revenue in 2023.