European stocks nudged up to a record-high close on Wednesday, rising for the sixth straight session, as positive earnings reports helped overshadow worries that soaring gas prices were feeding into inflationary pressures.
Equities have eked out small gains this week as strong earnings and signs of economic momentum counteract concerns around a fresh Covid-19 surge in Europe and inflationary pressures.
Data showed euro zone inflation rose to more than twice the European Central Bank’s target in October as energy prices surged.
The Iseq fell almost 1 per cent, underperforming the major European indices, as many of its biggest stocks ended the session in the red.
Ryanair dropped 2.1 per cent to €16.30 on a poor day for travel stocks across Europe. Packaging group Smurfit Kappa fell 1.7 per cent to €46.26, while food group Kerry ended 1.75 per cent lower at €112.40 and Glanbia was down almost 4 per cent at €12.41.
Bank of Ireland declined 2 per cent to €5.08, Flutter Entertainment slipped 1.2 per cent to €139.15 and building materials group CRH was just 0.1 per cent lower at €44.38. Few stocks made gains in the weak session.
The FTSE 100 index ended lower as a surge in British inflation to the highest level in a decade fuelled bets that the central bank will raise interest rates as early as next month.
The FTSE 100, many of whose constituents draw a large part of their revenue in dollars, fell 0.5 per cent as sterling hit a one-week high against the US currency. Exporters Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and British American Tobacco slipped between 0.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent.
The FTSE 250 mid-cap index eased 0.5 per cent, led by weakness in travel and leisure stocks. British renewable power generator and network operator SSE fell 4.3 per cent after reporting a 25 per cent drop in renewable power output and announcing plans to cut its dividend.
Shares of valve maker Spirax-Sarco dropped 4.9 per cent after it warned of supply chain pressures and a hit to profits from a stronger pound. Sage Group jumped 9.7 per cent after the software company issued a positive outlook statement.
Tullow Oil rose 0.5 per cent after it said it expects to generate $600 million in operating cashflow this year as it increases its stake in the Jubilee and Ten fields in Ghana.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.2 per cent after better-than-expected US retail sales data lifted Wall Street equities during Tuesday’s session.
German medical tech firm Siemens Healthineers gained 5.6 per cent after raising synergy targets from its Varian acquisition earlier this year. Swiss luxury firm Richemont extended its rally for a fifth day, up 0.6 per cent to an all-time high, after a slew of price target raises by brokerages.
Polish parcel locker firm InPost's shares plunged 13.2 per cent after lowering its full-year outlook citing slower-than-expected ecommerce market growth.
Travel and leisure stocks fell 1.7 per cent, dragged down by Swedish online gaming company Evolution.
Wall Street indexes fell as investors fretted over early rate hikes by the Federal Reserve after strong retail earnings, while Visa weighed on the Dow, falling 5.4 per cent after Amazon said it would stop accepting cards issued by the operator in the UK from next year in a dispute about the high fees charged for transactions.
Target was the latest big-name retailer to report positive results, as it raised its annual forecasts and beat profit expectations, but shares of the firm fell 5.2 per cent.
Lowe's rose 0.8 per cent after the home improvement chain raised its full-year sales forecast on higher demand from builders and contractors, as well as a strong US housing market.
Investors were awaiting third-quarter results from chipmaker Nvidia, due after the closing bell.
– Additional reporting: Reuters