European stocks climb to record high

German industrial output higher than expected and oil rebounds

With CRH’s acquisition of Holcim-Lafarge assets dependent on a merger, the Irish company’s shares increased 2.9 per cent to €24.98.

European stocks climbed to a record high amid better-than- estimated German industrial output, and oil rebounded from the biggest decline in two months. US equities fluctuated as Alcoa tumbled on earnings, while the dollar rose.

DUBLIN Green Reit and Hibernia Reit experienced decent moves driven by news that an office development funded by Denis O’Brien is to set a benchmark for rents in Dublin. Aercap is to pay €645 per sq m when it moves into the six-storey block at the junction of St Stephen’s Green and Earlsfort Terrace.

Green Reit closed up 3.4 per cent at €1.65, with 2.4 million shares traded. Hibernia Reit rose 2.9 per cent to €1.24.

It was a good day for CRH, as Holcim and Lafarge nominated Eric Olsen to lead their combined operation, potentially opening the way for the two cement groups to clinch their $40 billion merger. With CRH's acquisition of Holcim-Lafarge assets dependent on the merger, the Irish company's shares increased 2.9 per cent to €24.98.


Smurfit Kappa declined 0.5 per cent to close on €29.05.

The Iseq index of Irish shares finished up 1.3 per cent at 6,237.58.

LONDON UK stocks rose, sending the FTSE 100 Index to its highest since March 24th. Aberdeen Asset Management jumped 4.2 per cent for the biggest gain in the index.

Luxury retailer Burberry rose for a second day on takeover speculation, after Goldman Sachs named it as a potential acquisition target and Credit Suisse forecast an increase in luxury sales in the first quarter.

InterContinental Hotels advanced 2.4 per cent after Jefferies raised its rating on the company to hold.

Shire declined 1.2 per cent after its experimental drug to treat a rare genetic disorder that affects the liver failed to meet targets in a midstage trial.

The FTSE 100 added 1.1 per cent to 7,015.36 at the close in London. The benchmark gauge extended gains after the Bank of England kept the benchmark interest rate at a record low.

EUROPE European shares rose to their highest in nearly eight years yesterday on the prospect of more corporate deals, as well as figures showing a strong recovery in Europe’s auto sector and robust German data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed up 1.1 per cent to 1,630.08 points, hitting its highest level since July 2007 and taking its gains so far this year to 19 per cent.

Lafarge added 5.7 per cent and Holcim rose 3.6 per cent after the cement makers agreed to appoint Eric Olsen to lead their combined operation.

German generic drugmaker Stada was up 2.9 per cent as US rival Mylan’s proposed takeover of Ireland-based Perrigo fuelled a rerating in the sector.

Italian media group Mediaset rose 2.2 per cent after Mediobanca tipped it as a bid target for France's Vivendi .

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 1.1 per cent to 409.15 at the close of trading in London. France’s CAC 40 Index gained 1.4 per cent, closing at its highest level since January 2008.

US US stocks fluctuated in choppy early trading yesterday after initial jobless-claims data rose less than expected, suggesting an abrupt slowdown in job growth in March could be temporary. The energy sector helped buoy the market with a 1.2 percent gain on the back of a rebound in crude futures prices.

Alcoa dropped 4.8 per cent as the biggest US aluminium producer also forecast a global supply glut for the metal in 2015. Bed Bath and Beyond declined 5.9 per cent, leading retailers down after lower-than- forecast earnings and outlook.

Halliburton and Anadarko Petroleum added more than 1.9 per cent as oil rose after its biggest drop in two months.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 0.3 per cent to 2,076.02 at 11.25am in New York, with the index trading around its average price for the past 50 days. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters)