European shares hit record high after commodities rally

S&P 500 and Dow Jones also reach new heights on Wall Street after upbeat data

European stocks closed at a record high on Thursday as a rally in commodity prices lifted mining stocks and a slate of upbeat earnings reports offset worries about the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.5 per cent in its third session of gains, with miners jumping 1.5 per cent.

Travel and leisure stocks closed up 0.1 per cent after hitting a record high earlier in the session.


The Iseq bucked the positive trend seen elsewhere in Europe, falling marginally to 8,028. The State's two main banks dragged the index lower with Bank of Ireland and AIB fell 3.6 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.


Kerry Group shares rose marginally to €109.75 as news broke that it had suspended talks with its main shareholder, Kerry Co-op, about the possible sale of its dairy and consumer foods business in Ireland.

The company had been in discussions with the co-op about a potential transaction, which would have seen the legacy business, spun out in a joint venture with the co-op. However, news of the breakdown in talks came after the markets had closed.

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa was the main springer in the market, rising by more than 4 per cent to €41.02 on the back of positive stronger economic forecasts for the European and global economies. Ryanair, however, fell 1.2 per cent to €15.87.


The FTSE 100 pushed towards 7,000 points for the first time since early 2020 on Thursday, but narrowly missed out on the prize.

The commodity-heavy index rose 0.6 per cent to its highest level since February 2020 as a surge in metals prices lifted shares of companies such as Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP. Rio Tinto along with Antofagasta and Polymetal all ended the day up by well over 2 per cent.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline however proved more of a race car, closing the day up more than 4.5 per cent.

The company's share price reacted to reports that Elliott Management had taken a multibillion-pound stake in GSK. "This activist shareholder has a track record of shaking things up and Glaxo shares have seriously underperformed the wider market for several years," said financial services company CMC.

Shares in Deliveroo fell 3.3 per cent as the company said that growth in the number of takeaways it delivered hit 114 per cent in the three months to March. However, it warned of a deceleration as lockdown eases.


Swiss engineering company ABB rose 3.1 per cent after raising its full-year sales outlook, while French advertising group Publicis gained 3.3 per cent as it returned to organic growth for the first time since before the pandemic.

German real estate companies Deutsche Wohnen, LEG Immobilien and TAG Immobilien rose between 0.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent after the Constitutional Court ruled that a law putting a rent cap on apartments in Berlin was invalid.

Norwegian lender Sbanken soared 30.3 per ent after the country’s largest bank DNB agreed to buy the smaller competitor in a deal worth 11.1 billion Norwegian crowns (€1.1 billion).


The S&P 500 and the Dow hit record highs on Thursday as easing inflation concerns boosted demand for richly valued technology stocks, while upbeat earnings reports and strong March retail sales raised hopes of a broader economic rebound.

The S&P information technology and communication services indexes, which include Apple , Microsoft and Facebook, led gains after underperforming last month.

Top US banks kicked off the first-quarter reporting season on Wednesday, with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo posting bumper results. Bank of America and Citigroup also offered optimistic views on an economic recovery in their earnings reports on Thursday, but shares of the second-biggest US lender fell 2.9 per cent after it posted a profit that just about topped estimates. Citi's shares were 0.2 per cent lower.

– Additional reporting Reuters

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times