European shares notch best first-half gain in two decades

Markets close: Dublin market end higher with the main movers including C&C, Ryanair and Flutter

Ryanair was among the main movers in Dublin on Friday.

Ryanair was among the main movers in Dublin on Friday.


A surge in German shares helped European equities mark their best first-half performance in over two decades yesterday, with investors awaiting the outcome of US-China trade talks to see if the rally can continue.


The Dublin market closed the month-end in positive territory, ending up 0.74 per cent to 6152.63. Banks were weaker on the back of a note from Davy to investors highlighting the fact that the outlook for European interest rates would impact on profitability. Bank of Ireland was down 1.8 per cent to €4.59 with AIB falling 0.8 per cent to €3.59.

C&C rose 1.6 per cent to €3.91 with good momentum behind the stock while Flutter recovered from its weak run to close nearly 4 per cent higher at €66.14.

Other movers included Ryanair, up 2 per cent to €10.11 as rival Easyjet also gained.


A report that prime minister front-runner Boris Johnson would slash stamp duty and taxes drove gains in housebuilders and lifted London’s main index, while Madame Tussauds owner Merlin surged after a buyout offer.

Shares of Persimmon, Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley jumped 1.5-4.2 per cent and were among the biggest gainers on the blue-chip index.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.2 per cent, while the FTSE 250 capitalised on a stronger pound to climb 0.8 per cent.

Luxury brand Burberry gained 4.1 per cent after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the stock.

Shares of Glencore, which slipped nearly 5 per cent in the previous session after its mine collapsed in Congo, recovered most of those losses and added 4.2 per cent. The miner confirmed the accident would not impact production.

Legoland operator Merlin Entertainments moved 14 per cent higher on the mid-cap index after agreeing to be acquired by the investment vehicle of Lego’s founding family and Blackstone in a 455-pence-a-share deal.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust, whose stock has been hammered recently because of its association with fund manager Neil Woodford, shed 2.6 per cent. Shares had earlier gained 3.5 per cent after the firm laid out plans to cut debt and refresh its board.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.7 per cent, with Frankfurt’s trade-sensitive Dax outperforming other major indexes with a 1 per cent rise, aided by top lender Deutsche Bank. The bank’s shares rose 3.3 per cent after it passed an annual health check by the US Federal Reserve. On investors’ radar is a standoff between Switzerland and the European Commission over a stalled partnership treaty, with the Swiss government triggering measures to counter Brussels’ refusal to extend recognition to Swiss stock markets.

Swiss stock index shrugged off the news to rise 0.4 per cent. Bourses in Paris, Madrid and posted gains of between 0.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent.


Wall Street advanced in heavy trading, with the S&P 500 and the Dow closing the book on their best June in generations, ahead of much-anticipated trade talks between US president Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit now under way in Japan.

All three major US stock indexes gained ground at the close of the week, month, quarter and first half of the year, during which time the US stock market has had a remarkable run. The S&P 500 had its best June since 1955. The Dow posted its biggest June percentage gain since 1938, the waning days of the Great Depression.

The Dow rose 73.38 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 26,599.96, the S&P 500 gained 16.84 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 2,941.76 and the Nasdaq added 38.49 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 8,006.24. – Additional reporting: Reuters