European shares regain ground after Omicron sell-off

Irish index ends day slightly higher

European shares rose on Monday after their worst sell-off in more than a year as investors awaited clues on whether the Omicron variant of coronavirus would hamper economic recoveries and monetary tightening plans by central banks.

But while Omicron was already as far afield as Canada and Australia, a South African doctor who had treated cases said symptoms were so far mild.


The Irish index of shares ended the day slightly higher, mirroring a wider gain across Europe. The Euronext Dublin closed 0.7 per cent up at 7889.29.

Banking stocks rebounded, with AIB gaining 2.7 per cent to €1.97 and Bank of Ireland adding 1.25 per cent to close at €4.775. Permanent TSB was 0.66 per cent higher at €1.52.


Ryanair also saw some gains, climbing to €14.30, up 1.85 per cent over the day.

At the other end of the scale were building stocks such as CRH, which slipped 0.69 per cent to close at €43.40, and Cairn Homes and Glenveagh down 1 per cent and 0.87 per cent respectively.

Food group Glanbia fell 1.68 per cent to €11.70, and Kerry Group was broadly stable on the day, closing at €108.35.


London's Ftse 100 bounced back from its worst session in more than a year to rise on Monday as investors kept a wary eye on the newly detected Omicron coronavirus variant, and BT Group jumped following a report of takeover interest.

The Ftse 100 ended 1 per cent higher, after the discovery of the new variant knocked 3.6 per cent off the blue-chip index on Friday.

BT Group ended 6.1 per cent higher, trimming back some of its gains after India's Reliance Industries denied a media report it was weighing a bid for the British telecoms group.

The stock gained as much as 9 per cent after the Economic Times said billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance might make an unsolicited offer to buy into BT or try to get a controlling share.

Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell added more than 2 per cent each as crude prices jumped back from their lowest in more than a year, on investors looking for bargains and speculation that Opec+ may pause an output increase.

Miners gained 1.9 per cent as metal prices recouped some of the previous week’s losses.

Shares in HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays all gained 0.8-1.6 per cent.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.7 per cent, logging its best day in a month and recovering some of Friday’s 3.7 per cent slump, triggered by concerns around the newly discovered variant.

While the variant was spotted in several countries across the globe, a South African doctor, who was one of the first to suspect a different strain, said that symptoms were so far mild and could be treated at home.

Travel and leisure stocks rose, with Wizz Air, Lufthansa, TUI Group and Ryanair and Carnival all rising 1-5.5 per cent after double-digit falls on Friday on fears of renewed travel restrictions.

Financial stocks added 1.7 per cent, while energy and basic material stocks were also among the biggest boosts as prices of the underlying commodities rose.

The German Dax gained the least among regional peers, up 0.2 per cent

BT Group jumped 6.1 per cent after a report that Indian oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance was considering an offer for the UK telecom firm. Reliance denied the report, capping the stock’s gains.

Faurecia dropped 7.9 per cent drop after the car parts group trimmed its full-year guidance, citing a drop in European automotive production.


Bargain buying in technology stocks drove Wall Street higher on Monday following a slump related to Omicron, while the Dow Jones lagged its peers as major banks fell and investors awaited more information on the new coronavirus variant.

The S&P technology subindex jumped 2.1 per cent, indicating that investors were probably favouring pandemic-resistant technology stocks amid growing fears of Omicron.

Gains in Amazon. com and Tesla also drove the S&P consumer discretionary sector 1.7 per cent higher, with investors viewing Friday's losses as a cue for bargain hunting into high-value tech names.

Twitter pared early gains and traded 0.1 per cent lower after the social media firm said chief executive Jack Dorsey would step down and be succeeded by chief technology officer Parag Agrawal. The move ends Dorsey's run as chief executive of two major technology companies, the second being digital payments firm Square, whose shares fell 0.4 per cent.

The Dow severely lagged its peers, with major bank stocks weighing the most after treasury yields fell from the day’s highs.

Merck & Co Inc fell 4.5 per cent and was also among the top drags on the Dow. The stock extended Friday's losses after updated data from a study of its experimental Covid-19 pill showed lower efficacy in reducing risk of hospitalisation and deaths than previously reported.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist