European stocks mark best week since mid-March

Irish bank stocks continue good run from earlier in week, tracking wider European surge

Allianz, Europe’s largest insurer, rose 2.5 per cent after it posted a better-than-expected jump in second-quarter net profit and provided a rosier outlook for the full year. Photograph: iStock

Allianz, Europe’s largest insurer, rose 2.5 per cent after it posted a better-than-expected jump in second-quarter net profit and provided a rosier outlook for the full year. Photograph: iStock

 

European stocks inched up to a record close on Friday, marking their best week since mid-March on a run of strong quarterly earnings and as hopes of a broader rebound drove buying in economy-linked sectors.

Dublin

The Irish index of shares ended the week in positive territory, edging marginally higher to close at 8,497.15.

Bank stocks continued a good run from earlier in the week, tracking a wider European surge. AIB rose almost 2 per cent to €2.28, while Bank of Ireland was 4 per cent higher at €5.10.

Building stocks also saw some gains, with Cairn Homes shares up marginally, to €1.13, and Glenveagh Properties adding 1 per cent to end the week at €1.01. Building materials heavyweight CRH saw its shares add just under 1 per cent, finishing at €43.13.

Hotel group Dalata continued to gain, with its shares adding 1.3 per cent to €3.95.

On the other side of the market, Ryanair saw its shares fall 1.2 per cent over the session to close at €16.81. The airline gave up some of the previous session’s gains from further changes to the UK’s travel restrictions

Packaging specialist Smurfit Kappa also lost some ground, closing at €47.39, a 1.5 per cent decline.

London

London’s mid-cap FTSE-250 fell on Friday as mining stocks took a hit from a slide in gold prices, taking the shine off the third straight week of gains for UK stock markets on the back of an upbeat corporate earnings season.

The blue-chip FTSE-100, on the other hand, posted modest gains, boosted by a 5 per cent jump for the London Stock Exchange Group after it reported a higher revenue for the first half of 2021.

Data earlier in the day showed British house prices rose in July pushing homebuilding stocks 1.4 per cent higher.

Outsourcer Capita jumped 11.3 per cent after it said it was on track to deliver organic revenue growth in 2021.

Europe

The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index notched a fifth straight record high to gain 1.8 per cent for the week, ending it at 469.97 points. Bank stocks were the best performers this week, adding 4.4 per cent as positive earnings reports from majors including HSBC and Société Générale boosted the index.

That sector rose nearly 2 per cent on Friday, outpacing its regional peers as German bond and US treasury yields surged on the back of strong payrolls data in the United States.

Among individual movers, Allianz, the continent’s largest insurer, rose 2.5 per cent after it posted a better-than-expected jump in second-quarter net profit and provided a rosier outlook for the full year.

French IT consulting group Atos jumped 10.9 per cent to the top of the Stoxx 600, after a report said several private equity firms were looking at the company.

New York

The Dow and the S&P 500 indices scaled record highs on Friday as shares in economy-linked sectors jumped following a solid rise in jobs in July.

Five of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher in early afternoon trading.

At 12.01pm EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 132.95 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 35,197.20 and the S&P 500 was up 7.49 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 4,436.59.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 59.35 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 14,835.76, pressured by declines in growth stocks including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.com.

On the earnings front, American International Group rose 4.8 per cent as it beat second-quarter profit estimates on Thursday. Zynga tumbled 18.1 per cent after issuing a disappointing forecast for bookings and announcing a potential acquisition worth over half a billion dollars. – Additional reporting: Reuters