European stocks complete longest streak of rises since October
Dublin bucks upward trend as Iseq heavyweight CRH falls 2%
Rolls Royce shares fell more than 4% after the engine-maker reported one of the biggest losses in UK corporate history
European stocks edged higher on Tuesday, completing the longest streak of increases since October, as gains in automakers offset a drop in construction and materials stocks. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index closed up 0.02 per cent at 370.2 points, meaning it has advanced for six straight sessions.
Insurer FBD dropped 1.1 per cent to €8.31 as it handed back some of its recent strong gains, while Paddy Power Betfair declined 0.8 per cent to €100.70.
Bucking the trend, Aryzta jumped 11.3 per cent to €30.96 on news that the baked goods producer, which has suffered from a series of profit warnings and disappointing earnings announcements in the past two years, is to part ways with three of its top executives and it is likely to sell its minority stake in French frozen food company Picard.
Irish Residential Properties Reit (Ires) rose 1.3 per cent to €1.20 as investors positioned themselves ahead of earnings figures from the company on Wednesday.
Bank of Ireland rose 0.8 per cent to 24.5 cent, and Permanent TSB jumped 1.7 per cent in line with banking stocks internationally.
Rolls Royce shares dropped more than 4 per cent after the group had a pre-tax loss of £4.64 billion (€5.5bn) for 2016 after taking a £4.4 billion writedown from the collapse of sterling since the Brexit vote and a £671 million penalty to settle bribery allegations.
TUI, the owner of package holidays providers Thomson, Falcon and JWT, rose 5.3 per cent after investors cheered results showing narrowing losses in the first quarter. It said its net loss for the period came in at €81.6 million compared to last year’s €138.7 million.
Banks rose, led by Royal Bank of Scotland, which gained 2.7 per cent, as the sector was supported after US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen struck a hawkish tone on the timing of an interest rate hike. Higher rates are seen as helping banks boost their margins.
Credit Suisse Group rose 2.3 per cent after the lender said it took a charge to settle a US investigation into the role of its mortgage securities business in the 2008 financial crisis. Chief executive Tidjane Thiam called this a “game-changer” that leaves the bank in a “more comfortable position to look today at our capital planning”.
Investors were also keeping an eye on economic news. German and Italian growth in the fourth quarter fell short of forecasts, casting doubt on the strength of two of the euro zone’s biggest economies. Greece unexpectedly contracted.
Apple rose about 1 per cent to hit an all-time high of $134.59, helping the three major indices to hit fresh record highs for the fourth day in a row.
US president Donald Trump’s pro-business stance is credited with this record-setting rally in stocks. However, he has given scant detail on his policies, giving the Fed limited visibility on the direction of the economy.
By early afternoon the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.29 per cent at 20,471.5, while the S&P 500 gained 0.23 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.21 per cent.
Ms Yellen’s comments lifted the dollar and US Treasury yields. The S&P financial sector, which has led the “Trump rally”, was up 0.83 per cent. Goldman Sachs rose 1.2 per cent.
General Motors was the biggest percentage gainer on the S&P 500, rising 4.6 per cent after Peugeot said it was in talks to buy GM’s European business. The prospects of sector consolidation caused Ford to gain 0.6 per cent. – (Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg)