European shares rise on Brexit vote to reject disorderly exit
Positivity carries over to Iseq index, but volatility persists at Datalex and Aryzta
Glanbia, which traded ex-divided, closed at €18.82, down 0.5 per cent.
European shares rose to a five-month high, boosted by strength in the banking sector after Britain’s parliament voted to reject a disorderly Brexit.
Sentiment improved from cautious to upbeat ahead of another Westminster vote on Thursday evening.
The Iseq was broadly positive, closing up 1.2 per cent. Building materials group CRH traded ex-dividend, meaning buyers won’t qualify for the latest dividend payout, though it finished 1.1 per cent higher at €27.47 on its Dublin listing.
Glanbia, which also traded ex-dividend, closed at €18.82, down 0.5 per cent.
Smurfit Kappa fell 1.3 per cent to €25.12 after the box-maker said it would launch a tender offer to acquire 15.5 per cent of Cartón de Colombia for up to €90 million if all the shares are tendered. It already holds 69.9 per cent of Cartón.
After posting double-digit gains on both Tuesday and Wednesday, bakery group Aryzta plunged 13.7 per cent to €1.10.
There was similar volatility for troubled Datalex, which dropped 4.4 per cent to 87 cent having climbed more than 12 per cent in the previous session. The travel software company has entered into a loan facility agreement with shareholder Dermot Desmond.
Ryanair finished 1.8 per cent higher at €12.38, notwithstanding a poor outlook from Lufthansa. Cairn Homes also advanced, adding 2.3 per cent to €1.41.
UK shares rose as financial stocks cheered MPs’ rejection of a no-deal Brexit and oil majors rose on higher crude prices. The FTSE 100 was 0.4 per cent higher, marking its fourth consecutive session of rises and placing it on course for weekly gain after ending three weeks in the red. The FTSE 250, more exposed to outcomes of Brexit proceedings, rose 0.6 per cent.
Financials led the charge on the main index, with Lloyds and state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland adding 2 per cent. Mid-cap stock Cineworld added 4 per cent as its results benefited from a string of blockbuster releases last year including Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Retirement services company Just Group slipped 12.2 per cent after announcing plans for a share placement and debt offering due to changes in capital requirement rules.
Lufthansa posted the worst performance after reporting an 11 per cent decline in fourth-quarter operating profits. Its shares fell 6.3 per cent.
Italian defence group Leonardo scored its best day in more than seven years, up 13 per cent, after it said net profit surged and it forecast a rise in 2019 sales.
Germany’s GEA rose 11 per cent after its chief executive said it will announce changes to its structure in June, while France’s Lagardere gained 8 per cent after giving more details about its divestment plans.
Wall Street flitted between gains and losses as the mood was clouded by uncertainty over when a trade deal between the US and China would be reached.
The main indexes briefly moved higher after president Donald Trump said the US was doing very well in trade talks with China, but could not say whether a final deal would be reached. His comments came after a Bloomberg report that a meeting between Trump and China’s Xi Jinping to sign an agreement to end their trade dispute would be pushed to April at the earliest.
Boeing, the single largest US exporter to China, slipped 0.7 per cent. The planemaker had its own troubles this week after its 737 MAX jets were grounded globally following a recent fatal crash in Ethiopia.
Facebook dropped 1.72 per cent after a 17-hour partial outage made the social network inaccessible to users.
– Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg