European shares rise again as eyes are trained on US in hopes of stimulus

Iseq lags European peers, but closes marginally ahead

European stocks posted a second consecutive week of gains on Friday as bumper forecasts from some companies set a brighter tone for the earnings season, while investors kept an eye out for signs of fresh US stimulus.

London’s FTSE 100 closed at a three-week high as a new jobs’ support plan and advancements in Brexit talks eclipsed worries about a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases.


The Iseq index lagged its European peers but was still marginally ahead by the end of the session. Both of the main banks performed strongly as hopes rose that Ireland's general economic resilience may see it through the pandemic, with AIB up 3.8 per cent to 97.7 cent and Bank of Ireland ahead by 3.1 per cent to €1.87.

Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta, the scene of a recent battle for control involving rebel shareholders, witnessed further undulating days after posting its annual results. It was down by 6.9 per cent to close at 55.3 cent per share.


Hibernia Reit rose 2.3 per cent to close at €1.06 per share after it told shareholders that rent collections remain strong in the pandemic.


The FTSE 100 index climbed for the second consecutive week and ended higher by 0.7 per cent, with mining and oil stocks leading gains. The mid-cap index added 0.7 per cent and closed near a two-month high.

Real estate firm British Land rose 3.1 per cent after saying it would resume paying dividends in November and that it was in active talks with tenants on rent payments.

Pub groups and hospitality firms had a positive session, with JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butlers and Whitbread all making strong gains as they welcomed the UK government's new financial support measures for sites forced to close again.

Shares in Marston's jumped after the competition regulator waved through the £780 million merger of its brewing arm with Carlsberg UK. It moved 8.58p higher to 50.1p as investors welcomed the green light, which is expected to help streamline its beer business.


The Stoxx 600 index ended up 0.6 per cent to close the week with a gain of 2.1 per cent.

Jewellery maker Pandora rose 17.2 per cent to the top of the Stoxx 600 after hiking its profit guidance on stronger sales and a big boost to its online business.

Drugmaker Novo Nordisk gained 3.3 per cent after raising its 2020 sales and operating outlook.

German online fashion company Zalando rose 3.2 per cent and Global Fashion Group surged 24.0 per cent after upgrading their earnings outlook.

Euronext declined 4.4 per cent after hitting a record high last week. London Stock Exchange accepted a €4.325 billion cash offer from the pan-European bourse operator for the Milan stock exchange.

German chemicals group BASF fell 3.8 per cent as it slashed its outlook after heavy writeoffs in third quarter.


Wall Street’s main indexes rose, setting up the S&P 500 and the Dow for their second straight weekly gain on hopes of more federal fiscal aid and growing expectations of a Democratic victory in next month’s presidential election.

Eight of the 11 major S&P indexes were up in morning trading, led by materials and information technology. Energy stocks dipped, but were still set for their biggest weekly percentage increase since June.

Xilinx surged 11.8 per cent after a report said Advanced Micro Devices was in talks to buy the chipmaker in a deal valued at more than $30 billion. Shares of AMD fell 3.4 per cent.

General Electric jumped 3.4 per cent as a report said Goldman Sachs reinstated coverage on the US industrial conglomerate with a "buy" rating, saying the company will emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic. – Additional reporting: Reuters/PA

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times