European shares rise as Musk’s Twitter stake excites tech investors

Iseq index advances 1.5 per cent to 7,289.09

European shares advanced on Monday with tech stocks rallying more than 2 per cent to track gains on Wall Street's Nasdaq after Tesla chief executive Elon Musk revealed he had snapped up a 9.2 per cent stake in Twitter.

Still, the overall advance by the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was contained at 0.8 per cent as investors kept an eye out for more western sanctions after Ukraine accused Russia of war crimes.

DUBLIN

The Iseq index advanced 1.5 per cent to 7,289.09. Ryanair gained 0.9 per cent to €13.66, with news that the airline had narrowed its full-year loss programme and seen its net debt fall more than expected by the market offset by a fresh spike in oil prices above $100 a barrel.

The benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil grade added as much as 4.5 per cent to trade at $103.71 a barrel on Monday.

Banking stocks were mixed, with Bank of Ireland falling 1.1 per cent to €2.014, while AIB added 1.2 per cent to €5.94.

Renewable energy company Greencoat Renewables got little support – closing unchanged at €1.145 – from news that it was to acquire 50 per cent of the Borkum Riffgrund 1 offshore wind farm in Germany for about €350 million.

Kerry Group was also in focus, rising 1.8 per cent to €109.15, after revealing it has suspended its operations in Russia and Belarus following extensive consultation with shareholders.

LONDON

Gains in industrials and leisure stocks drove the UK's share indexes higher, with investors closely tracking developments around the Russia-Ukraine crisis, while fashion retailer Ted Baker jumped after launching a formal sale process.

The blue-chip Ftse 100 closed up 0.3 per cent.

Ted Baker surged 14.4 per cent after it said it was open to selling itself at the right price. Private equity firm Sycamore improved its takeover proposal and another third party also showed interest.

Meanwhile, Bank of England deputy governor Jon Cunliffe said the central bank may not need to take sustained action to prevent inflation expectations from becoming ingrained in public thinking, as there were few signs of this to date.

Just Group climbed 5.8 per cent after Barclays upgraded the stock to "overweight" and raised its price target.

Morrisons, the UK's fourth-biggest grocer and a major food producer, warned its sales and core profit for the year could be hit by the Ukraine crisis and rising inflation unless conditions improved. Shares of supermarket groups Tesco and Sainsbury's were down 1.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively.

EUROPE

Opinion polls ahead of France's first round of voting on Sunday showed the country faces a repeat of the 2017 election showdown between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, with Macron still favoured but in a tighter race.

"Investors have been looking through this election, given the high likelihood that Macron still is in office ... If he wins, it's unlikely to lead to a material shift in [investment] allocations," said Dean Turner, economist at UBS.

Roche climbed 3.1 per cent after the US Food and Drug Administration granted priority review to its drug to treat Covid-19 in hospitalised adults.

Telecom Italia fell 1.9 per cent as the odds for a KKR takeover receded with the US fund set to make it clear it would not formalise any bid without due diligence.

NEW YORK

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were ahead in mid-afternoon trading, boosted by megacap stocks and an almost 30 per cent jump in Twitter’s shares after Elon Musk revealed his sizeable stake in the company, making him the largest shareholder.

Tesla rose after the electric-vehicle maker reported record deliveries for the first quarter.

Starbucks fell after former chief executive Howard Schultz announced the suspension of the company's stock repurchasing programme.

New York-listed shares of Chinese companies Bilibili and Pinduoduo jumped after China proposed revising confidentiality rules involving offshore listings – easing concerns about potential delistings from the US market.