European shares rose on Thursday, with oil stocks standing out as a bright spot amid hopes of improving economic growth, while drug maker Swedish Orphan Biovitrum soared after accepting an $8 billion (€6.74 billion) takeover offer.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 per cent higher by the close.
Focus on Friday will be on the US monthly jobs report, which could set the stage for the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting later this month.
The Iseq overall index ended the session up 0.1 per cent at 8,788.01, with Ryanair edging 0.4 per cent higher to €16.15 after the carrier said it flew 11.1 million passengers in August, passing the 10 million mark for the first time since Covid-19 hit in March 2020. It sold 82 per cent of the seats on the 71,000 flights it operated last month.
However, Datalex lost 1.5 per cent to 68 cent, after the travel retail software provider to airlines reported a decline in first-half revenues as the Covid crisis continues to affect the sector as well as revealing that Niall O'Sullivan, the chief financial hired two years ago to help steady the ship after an accounting scandal, is leaving the company.
Dalata Hotel Group fell 3.1 per cent to €3.72, as it continued to hand back recent gains in advance of the company's interim earnings on Wednesday.
The FTSE 100 rose on an upbeat earnings report from Melrose Industries and as higher oil prices lifted energy stocks, although losses in heavyweight Unilever capped gains.
The blue-chip index closed up 0.2 per cent, with engineering firm Melrose surging 7.2 per cent to a more-than-four-month high after swinging to a first-half profit, helped by a recovery in its aerospace division.
On the other hand, global miner BHP Group slid 5.6 per cent to the bottom of index, while motor insurer Admiral Group slipped 1.9 per cent as they traded ex-dividend.
The FTSE 100 has risen more than 10 per cent so far this year, boosted by strong corporate earnings and hopes of a strong vaccine-led economic recovery, but a global resurgence in coronavirus cases and fears of a tapering in global monetary policy have rekindled concerns about the pace of growth.
Unilever fell 2.1 per cent as JP Morgan downgraded the Dove soap maker’s stock to underweight from neutral.
CMC Markets sank 27.4 per cent to the bottom of the index after the online trading platform slashed its annual earnings outlook.
Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (SOBI) surged 25.8 per cent to the top of the Stoxx 600 after it agreed to a takeover by US private equity firm Advent International and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Travel and leisure stocks rose 0.8 per cent as they recovered from a recent sell-off on concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus, while automakers gained 0.3 per cent.
But German luxury carmaker Daimler fell 0.6 per cent after it warned of significantly lower third-quarter sales at its Mercedes unit due to a global semiconductor shortage.
The European stocks benchmark is trading just a few points below all-time highs, with investors holding off on big bets ahead of US jobs data on Friday.
Polish videogame maker CD Projekt rose 11.5 per cent as its first-half results blew past estimates on strong sales of its flagship games Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs by early afternoon trading on gains in heavyweight technology and energy companies, as well as hopes that the Federal Reserve will maintain an accommodative policy amid signs that an economic recovery was slowing.
The energy sector rose, with oil majors Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Schlumberger and Occidental Petroleum gaining between as crude prices jumped.
Netflix rose to an all-time high, while Apple and Amazon also advanced.
Contracting services company Quanta Services jumped to a record high after saying it would buy privately held Blattner Holding Company in a deal valued at about $2.7 billion.
Medtech firm Baxter International rose after announcing the acquisition of rival Hill-Rom Holdings for roughly $10.5 billion. Hill-Rom jumped 4.4 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters