European shares post weekly gain on strong miners

In Dublin, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB buck euro-wide weakness in financials

European shares edged higher on Friday, ending the week in positive territory thanks to corporate earnings and robust basic resources stocks, though declines among Italian banks led that sector to its worst week since November.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 per cent and set for a weekly gain of 0.9 per cent that brought it close to a 13-month peak hit in January.

The week saw volatility because of investor unease over how parliamentary elections in France this spring might pan out, and the re-emergence of concerns that Greece might leave the euro.



Dublin's Iseq index effectively treaded water, closing four points down at 6,472. Bank of Ireland put in another positive session, closing up 1.6 per cent at 24.4 cents, bucking the weaker trend for financials around Europe. Rival Permanent TSB rose by a similar margin to €2.64.

Swiss-Irish food group Arzyta was again under pressure, shedding 2.4 per cent to close the day at €26.55

Iseq heavyweight CRH rose 0.6 per cent to €32.43 amid positive noises from US president Donald Trump about his tax plans.

Ryanair ended a rocky week down 1.8 per cent at €14.17 following a downgrade by broker Kepler.

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa rose marginally to €24.90 following a slump on Thursday. Paddy Power Betfair finished off a positive week with a 0.6 per cent rise to €102.20.


Britain’s commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index climbed to a three-week high, with a rally in metals prices on soothing Chinese data and supply concerns boosting shares in basic resources companies.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.4 per cent higher at 7,258.75 after hitting an intra-day peak of 7,274.80, the highest since January 17th. The benchmark index, up 1 per cent this week, marked a second week of gains.

The UK mining index gained 3.6 per cent as copper rose after China reported better-than-expected trade data for January. Shares in Anglo American, Antofagasta, Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton – top five gainers on the FTSE 100 index – advanced 2.4 to 5.6 per cent.

Shares in Reckitt Benckiser, however, were the biggest loser among the blue chips, down 3 per cent after reaching a deal to buy US infant formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition for $16.6 billion.


French entertainment company Ubisoft was the top pan-European STOXX 600 index gainer, up 10.9 per cent after it revised its profitability target upwards.

The STOXX 600 Basic Resources index posted its best daily gains since November 9th, the day of Mr Trump's election as US president. The index closed up 3.7 per cent, the biggest sectoral gainer in Europe. It was also lifted by shares in ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, which rose 9.3 per cent after posting a higher-than-expected quarterly core profit.

Banks across Europe showed weakness, with the banking index down 0.8 per cent as Italian banking results weighed. Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna, was the top European faller, down 7.8 per cent after reporting a plunge in net income late on Thursday. UBI Banca fell 5.7 per cent after it posted a 2016 net loss of €830 billion.


Wall Street hit record highs for a second day, and the dollar rose on hopes of business-friendly tax cuts. Upbeat Chinese trade data buoyed commodity-related shares in Asia and Europe. The equities boost continued a day after Mr Trump said that in coming weeks he would announce something "phenomenal" in terms of tax, although he offered no further details.

Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. Consumer staples was the outlier, largely due to a 1.6 per cent fall in Wal-Mart shares.

The ongoing corporate earnings season helped buoy sentiment. Activision Blizzard surged 17 per cent and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500. – (Additional reporting by Bloomberg/Reuters)

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times