European shares fell for a fourth straight day on Thursday, though they trimmed losses after UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled billions of pounds in further financial aid for pandemic-hit businesses.
The Iseq index ended in positive territory, rising 0.4 per cent with little in the way of news to fuel trading.
Ryanair was the star performer on the day, up 7 per cent as it rebounded from the 2.9 per cent decline recorded a day earlier.
Banks were in favour, with AIB gaining 2 per cent and Bank of Ireland 0.8 per cent.
Iseq heavyweight CRH was down 1.7 per cent, with Kerry Group losing 1.3 per cent.
Other major movers included insurer FBD, which was up 2.6 per cent, and hotels group Dalata, which gained 4.9 per cent.
London stocks ended Thursday on a firmer footing after a positive update on AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate and as UK finance minister Rishi Sunak unveiled more support for businesses hit by the pandemic.
The blue-chip Ftse 100 index closed up 0.2 per cent, while the domestically focused mid-cap Ftse 250 ended 0.6 per cent higher after opening lower. Gains were led by travel and leisure, banks and insurers.
AstraZeneca shares rose 0.4 per cent after a study found its Oxford Covid-19 vaccine accurately followed the genetic instructions programmed into it to successfully provoke a strong immune response.
In other company news, Unilever rose 0.4 per cent after it reported a stronger-than-expected return to sales growth in the third quarter. Rentokil Initial gained 3.9 per cent as the pest-control firm reported a 9.8 per cent rise in third-quarter revenue due to higher demand for its disinfection services.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 recovered from losses of up to 1.2 per cent to close down 0.1 per cent.
The German Dax fell 0.1 per cent as a survey showed consumer morale in Europe’s largest economy dropped heading into November.
French electrical equipment group Schneider Electric SE rose 2.1 per cent, giving the biggest boost to the Stoxx 600, after it raised its 2020 revenue and margin forecasts.
Swedish hygiene products group Essity fell as quarterly revenue suffered from the stay-at-home trend.
Wall Street’s main indexes swung between slight gains and losses in early trading on Thursday, as investors held out for more fiscal stimulus against the backdrop of economic data pointing to a slowing labour market recovery.
Tesla climbed 1.1 per cent after the electric-car maker reported its fifth consecutive quarterly profit on record revenue of $8.8 billion.
Chipotle Mexican Grill fell 5.6 per cent as it posted a drop in quarterly profit, hurt by higher beef prices, delivery costs and coronavirus-related expenses.
Among blue-chip companies, Coca-Cola gained 1.7 per cent as it beat quarterly results expectations, while chemicals maker Dow fell 1.5 per cent even as it surpassed quarterly profit estimates.