European shares nudge up to fresh record highs

FTSE 100 rallies as Bank of England leaves interest rates unchanged

The NYSE on Wall Street: the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs on Thursday. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

The NYSE on Wall Street: the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs on Thursday. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

 

European shares rose for a fifth straight session on Thursday to hit record highs as investors took comfort from the US Federal Reserve signalling it was in no rush to increase interest rates, while the Bank of England left its benchmark rate at an all-time low.

DUBLIN

The Iseq fell 0.7 per cent as several of its larger stocks posted declines. Cement-maker CRH, the largest component of the index, fell 0.65 per cent to €42.83, while food group Kerry ended 1.2 per cent lower at €115.10.

The banks were also in the red, with AIB falling 2 per cent to €2.35 and Bank of Ireland dropping almost 0.7 per cent to €5.15. Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment also declined, finishing 2.6 per cent lower at €147.60.

Ryanair was among the gainers, however, with the airline rising 0.6 per cent to €17.63, while packaging group Smurfit Kappa added 0.1 per cent to finish at €45.52.

LONDON

The FTSE 100 rallied as the pound plunged following the Bank of England’s decision to defy markets by leaving rates unchanged, while heavyweight energy stocks tracked crude prices higher. The pound weakened 1.33 per cent after the rate decision, boosting dollar-earning companies.

The export-oriented FTSE 100 index, which was flat before the Bank’s statement, ended 0.5 per cent higher. Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose 1.2 per cent and 1.7 per cent, while telecommunications company BT Group added 11 per cent after confirming its outlook for this year and next.

Banks declined 3.3 per cent, hitting a three-week low following the central bank’s decision.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 1.6 per cent to record its best session in over three months, led by positive earnings from engineering firm IMI and electrical retailer Currys.

Sainsbury’s fell 2.4 per cent to the bottom of the blue-chip index, as uncertainty around supply chains outweighed a 23 per cent rise in first-half profit.

EUROPE

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.4 per cent higher after spending most of the day in positive territory after the Fed, as expected, said it would begin scaling back its monthly bond purchases in November with plans to end them next year.

Gains on the Stoxx 600 were led by a 2.3 per cent jump in real estate stocks after a takeover offer for German real estate company Alstria Office Reit from Canadian investment firm Brookfield.

Drugmaker Roche gained 0.5 per cent after it bought back its nearly one-third voting stake from rival Novartis for $20.7 billion. Novartis was up 2.4 per cent.

Germany’s blue-chip index Dax rose 0.4 per cent, hitting a record high, after strong earnings from Deutsche Post led to a 3 per cent rise in its stock.

France’s Societe Generale and Germany’s Commerzbank advanced 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively, after the banks posted upbeat quarterly earnings.

US

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs in early trading on stellar earnings reports.

The Dow slipped from an all-time closing high hit on Wednesday, dragged down by big banks JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, which slipped 1.7 per cent and 2.6 per cent despite steepening of the yield curve.

Shares of Qualcomm jumped 11.4 per cent after the chipmaker forecast better-than-expected profit and revenue for its current quarter. Its rival Nvidia also climbed 9.9 per cent.

Electronic Arts and rival Take-Two Interactive Software gained 2.9 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively, after they boosted their 2021 adjusted sales forecasts on strong gaming boom.

Tesla added 1.5 per cent to scale new heights.

Merck rose 2.5 per cent after the UK became the first country in the world to approve its Covid-19 antiviral oral pill jointly developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Moderna dropped 18.4 per cent after the vaccine maker cut its full-year sales forecast for its Covid-19 vaccine. – Additional reporting: Reuters