European stocks finish week in upbeat mood
New trade talks seen as positive for markets
Volkswagen’s self-driving car Sederic: the carmaker was among gainers on Friday. Photograph: Reuters
Gains among tech, auto and mining stocks pushed European shares higher on Friday, as hopes of new trade talks between the US and China boosted investor sentiment.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.4 per cent, scoring its strongest weekly gains in seven weeks. Analysts and traders saw new trade talks as a positive for the market, with some expecting US president Donald Trump to seek to seal a trade deal before mid-term elections in November.
After European markets closed, however, shares on Wall Street turned lower after a Bloomberg report said Mr Trump had asked aides to proceed with tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports.
The Iseq nudged up 0.1 per cent in the final session of the week as its main stocks had mixed fortunes. Ryanair was a climber, adding 1.2 per cent to €13.21, but building materials group CRH ended almost 0.4 per cent lower at €27.24. Paper and packaging company Smurfit Kappa also fell, finishing 1.5 per cent lower at €34.24.
Cairn Homes was among the gainers, closing up 1 per cent at €1.59, as was Dalata Hotel Group, which finished up 1.5 per cent at €6.73.
Drinks group C&C also ended the week in good cheer, adding 1.65 per cent to €3.38, while Bank of Ireland added almost 0.5 per cent to €7.41.
Britain’s top share index tracked higher European markets, rising 0.3 per cent.
Shire rose 2.2 per cent after China cleared Takeda Pharmaceutical’s plans to buy the drugmaker in a $62 billion deal. The move brings the Japanese group closer to becoming a global top 10 drugmaker.
Mid-cap Investec rose 8.4 per cent on news it plans to hive off and separately list its asset management unit in a restructuring that comes as the long-serving company founder leaves the financial services group.
JD Wetherspoon declined 1.3 per cent after the pub chain said it expected higher costs this year even though a record heatwave lifted its full-year profit.
The German Dax rose almost 0.6 per cent, while France’s Cac 40 added almost 0.5 per cent in a positive end to the week.
French retailer Casino, whose stock price has been hit by concerns over its debts and that of parent Rallye, bounced 6.8 per cent after a reassuring note from brokerage firm Kepler-Cheuvreux.
Automotive stocks rose 1.4 per cent. Volkswagen added almost 1.4 per cent to €141.00 after Bloomberg reported that its board was working towards a decision to spin off its heavy-truck division, in a move that would generate fresh funds in its bid to challenge Daimler and Volvo.
The German automaker also announced a plan to end production of the Beetle model that became a symbol of 1960s culture.
Danske Bank fell 1 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported that US law enforcement agencies are investigating it over allegations of money laundering through Estonia.
Stocks edged higher in New York as banks gained after 10-year US Treasury yields topped 3 per cent, but gains were capped by a drop in the rate-sensitive utilities, real estate and telecom sectors.
Financial stocks rose 0.73 per cent, the most among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, after the benchmark government yield broke back above the key technical level for the first time since the start of August 2nd.
Walmart dropped 0.6 per cent after Goldman Sachs raised questions around the purchase of a majority stake in India’s Flipkart.
L Brands jumped 5.3 per cent after the owner of Victoria’s Secret said it would close all 23 of its Henri Bendel stores and the Henri Bendel ecommerce website.
Adobe Systems rose 3.2 per cent after the company topped quarterly revenue and profit expectations. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters