European shares rise for fourth straight session

Bank of Ireland, Ryanair and housebuilder Abbey among the top gainers in Dublin

European shares rose yesterday, with Italian bank stocks outperforming on expectations of measures to tackle their bad debts. Better earnings also helped carmakers’ shares.

The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index and the similar FTSEurofirst 300 index both rose 1.1 per cent, marking out their fourth straight day of gains.

Elsewhere, US equities climbed for a third day, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average above its record close from May 2015, as investors weighed corporate health amid the start of the earnings season. DUBLIN The Dublin market followed other European markets higher, closing up just over 1 per cent or 64.15 points to 5,753.08 on low trading volumes.

Bank of Ireland continues to bounce back, closing up 2 per cent to 18.9 cent, while Permanent TSB rose almost 5 per cent to €1.83.

Ryanair, which has been under pressure since the Brexit result was announced, also gained. It ended the day up 2.8 per cent at €11.65.

Irish Continental has seen its share prices fall 20 per cent since the week of the Brexit vote. It gained 2.3 per cent to close at €4.45 but still has plenty of ground to make up.

Housebuilder Abbey, which announced a 25 per cent rise in annual profits to €61.5 million yesterday, jumped 3 per cent to end at €12.80.

Other movers included hotel group Dalata, whose stock fell to below €3.40 post-Brexit. It closed up 2.6 per cent to €3.90. LONDON Britain's top share index settled near an 11-month high, while mid-caps rose nearly 1 per cent as political uncertainty eased following the news Theresa May will be the next prime minister.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed at 6,680.69 points, flat in percentage terms but near its highest level since August last year. The index has gained nearly 16 per cent since its post-Brexit low on June 24th after the result came through, and is up more than 20 per cent from its trough in February.

The FTSE 250 rose 0.6 per cent and is now some 3 per cent shy of its pre-EU referendum levels.

Vodafone fell 1 per cent as investment bank Citigroup cut the stock to "neutral" from "buy".

Drugmaker AstraZeneca dropped 1.8 per cent, while gold miner Fresnillo, whose shares have surged 170 per cent this year on the uncertain economic outlook, slipped 2.8 per cent. EUROPE Carmakers and banks led the way, with Daimler rising 4.4 per cent after second-quarter results beat expectations, helped by higher earnings in van and bus operations.

Italian bank UniCredit surged 13.5 per cent, the top STOXX 600 riser, after it successfully placed 10 per cent of its online broker FinecoBank at €5.40 per share, pocketing €328 million. Other Italian bank stocks also rose sharply.

However, Norwegian bank DNB fell 7.6 per cent after warning of bigger loan losses this year and reporting higher-than-expected second quarter impairments due to a slump in Norway's key oil sector. WALL STREET The S&P 500 and the Dow hit record intraday highs, while the Nasdaq wiped out its losses for the year, buoyed by increasing prospects of global economic health. Alcoa got the US earnings season off to a good start.

The S&P 500 hit 2,151.96 shortly after the open, breaking past its previous record on Monday. The Dow hit an all-time high of 18,353.76.

Alcoa reported a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly profit, sending the aluminium producer's shares up 4.7 per cent and helping boost optimism.

Seagate jumped 16.2 per cent to $28 after the hard-disk drive-maker estimated quarterly results that beat analysts' expectations. Rival Western Digital rose 3.5 per cent.

Sage Therapeutic soared 42 per cent to $47.69 after a depression drug succeeded in a study. – (Additional reporting: agencies)

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist