European shares hit new high but Dublin and London lag

Luxury goods groups Richemont and LVMH among standout performers

Tesla slid 3.5 per cent after Elon Musk sold another block of company shares worth about $700 million after earlier offloading about $5 billion worth of stock following a Twitter poll.  Photograph:  John Walton/PA Wire

Tesla slid 3.5 per cent after Elon Musk sold another block of company shares worth about $700 million after earlier offloading about $5 billion worth of stock following a Twitter poll. Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire

 

European shares closed with their sixth straight week of gains and at a new high on Friday. ECB policymakers acknowledged on Friday that euro zone inflation may decline more slowly than earlier thought, partly due to supply chain bottlenecks.

Europe has become the epicentre of Covid-19 again, with Germany, France, and the Netherlands experiencing a surge in infections, and prompting some governments to consider reimposing lockdowns.

DUBLIN

The Irish index of shares finished the day largely flat at 8,484, down 0.3 per cent.

Ryanair was 2.7 per cent lower at €16.90, as fears over new lockdowns caused travel stocks across Europe to decline.

Glanbia stock dipped for a second day, losing 0.66 per cent to close at €13.61. That follows Thursday’s 1.3 per cent decline after it announced plans to sell off its remaining stake in dairy processing business Glanbia Ireland.

Banking shares also headed lower, with Bank of Ireland down 1.5 per cent to €5.15 and AIB losing 2.15 per cent to end at just under €2.23.

LONDON

The blue-chip Ftse 100 index ended 0.5 per cent lower, weighed by AstraZeneca after the Covid-19 vaccine maker reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit and stuck with its overall profit forecast for the year.

A 2.6 per cent drop in mining stocks and 1.2 per cent slide in energy stocks also dragged down the commodity-heavy Ftse 100 index as a stronger dollar weighed on commodity prices on bets of an earlier-than-expected interest rate.

However, the surge in mining stocks earlier in the week put the Ftse 100 on track for its third consecutive week of gains.

Bogged down by inflationary pressures and supply chain problems, UK blue-chip shares continue to underperform their European peers. The Ftse 100 has gained just 13.9 per cent this year compared with the 21.7 per cent increase in the pan-European Stoxx 600 index.

In a bright spot, there were reports suggesting Britain wanted to de-escalate tensions with the European Union and renew efforts to find a solution over a Northern Ireland trade dispute.

Online trading platform IG Group slipped 1.4 per cent after completion of a comprehensive refinancing of its debt, providing it with additional financial flexibility to grow.

EUROPE

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.3 per cent to a new peak of 486.75 points, and added 0.7 per cent for the week. It has finished at record highs in four of the five sessions this week.

Richemont surged 10.9 per cent and was the best-performing European stock for the day, after it beat six-month profit estimates and said it was seeking investors for its loss-making Yoox business.

The luxury sector also got a boost from France’s LVMH , which gained 2.5 per cent on news that Louis Vuitton was planning to open its first duty-free shop in China.

French blue-chip shares also finished the week at all-time highs, with car maker Renault jumping 4.4 per cent after Morgan Stanley upgraded its stock.

Travel and leisure stocks were the worst weekly performers, down 3.7 per cent as investors feared new restrictions.

NEW YORK

US stock indices rose on Friday, as Johnson & Johnson and big technology and communication stocks led gains at the end of a week scarred by deepening concerns over prolonged inflation.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.4 per cent after saying it planned to break up into two companies focused on its consumer health business and the large pharmaceuticals unit.

Shares of mega-cap growth stocks, including Google owner Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), Apple and Amazon. com gained 1.3-4.2 per cent.

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index rose for a second straight day to add 1.2 per cent, while the economically sensitive Dow Jones Transport Average index firmed 1.0 per cent.

But Tesla slid 3.5 per cent after Elon Musk sold another block of company shares worth about $700 million after offloading about $5 billion worth of stock following a Twitter poll.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 181.73 points, or 0.51 per cent, at lunchtime at 36,102.96. The S&P 500 was up 32.56 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 4,681.83 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 138.69 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 15,842.97.

US-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding fell 0.8 per cent after the ecommerce giant said its sales during the Singles Day event grew at the slowest rate ever, underscoring the headwinds for China’s tech firms.

Biogen rose 1.3 per cent after late-stage studies found its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm significantly lowered blood levels of an abnormal form of the protein tau that accumulates in the brains of people with the disease.