Glanbia and AB Inbev among top performers on mixed day for stocks
Vaccine-makers drop on Wall Street after Biden backs intellectual property waivers
Pharma stocks slipped on Wall Street after US president Joe Biden backed intellectual property waivers for vaccines. Photograph: Angela Weiss / AFP
The major European indices closed slightly higher on Thursday, as Belgian brewing giant AB Inbev and several euro zone banks reported strong earnings, although the benchmark pan-European Stoxx 600 index finished marginally lower, down 0.1 per cent.
The Iseq index nudged up 0.1 per cent, with falls for several key stocks offsetting the standout performance of the day from Glanbia. The food group surged 5.9 per cent to €13.26 after it reported strong revenues for products in its key performance nutrition unit in the three months to April 3rd and also gave investors a cautiously upbeat verdict on future demand.
It was also a reasonably good day for Ryanair, which added 2 per cent to €17.04 on a day when travel stocks across Europe fell, but Dalata Hotel Group dropped 2 per cent to €4.60, and building materials group CRH edged 0.6 per cent lower to €41.71.
There was contrasting fortunes for financial stocks, with Bank of Ireland adding 0.9 per cent to €4.93, but AIB slipping 1.4 per cent to just under €2.47.
Paddy Power-owner Flutter Entertainment was another faller, declining 1 per cent to €168.15.
The FTSE 100 hit a more than one-year high, boosted by heavyweight consumer staple stocks and positive earnings updates from Next and Melrose Industries, while the Bank of England eased the pace of bond-buying and raised the forecast for economic growth.
The FTSE 100 index of blue-chip companies and the mid-cap FTSE 250 both added about 0.5 per cent.
Fashion retailer Next gained 1.5 per cent as it raised its profit outlook for the 2021-22 year for the second time in two months.
Engineer Melrose climbed 0.8 per cent after it said it was performing “modestly” ahead of expectations, with operating margins in the first quarter improving faster than expected.
Among other stocks, insulation products maker Morgan Advanced Materials jumped on confident annual sales outlook.
Britain’s largest homebuilder Barratt Developments added 2.1 per cent after it forecast wholly-owned annual home completions ahead of its previous estimates, as the sector benefits from government measures and low interest rates.
Weak results from rail operator Trainline saw the stock fall 6.9 per cent and lead a decline for the travel and leisure sector across Europe.
Heavyweight oil stocks were among the top drags on the Stoxx 600 as oil prices slipped, while technology shares fell in tandem with their US peers.
In Frankfurt the Dax ended almost 0.2 per cent higher, however, while the Cac 40 in Paris finished up 0.3 per cent.
Food and beverage stocks were the best performers for the day, pushed up by a 5.2 per cent rise in Anheuser-Busch InBev after it reported first-quarter earnings ahead of expectations and said North America boss Michel Doukeris will replace Carlos Brito as chief executive.
Italy’s second biggest bank UniCredit gained 5 per cent and French lender Societe Generale rose 5.5 per cent after reporting higher-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Telecom Italia slid 5.5 per cent after a report suggesting the government is set to drop a plan to create a single broadband network.
The Frankfurt-listed shares of US drugmakers Novavax and Moderna fell about 10 per cent after US president Joe Biden supported waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines.
The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 slipped in early trading as vaccine-makers fell after Biden announced plans to back the intellectual property waivers. Shares in Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax – which are all involved in the making of Covid-19 vaccines – fell between 0.2 per cent and 9.3 per cent.
Shares of highly valued technology-related stocks like Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and Amazon. com recovered from a subdued performance early in the session, which pulled the tech-heavy Nasdaq into the green.
ViacomCBS rose 1.4 per cent after reporting quarterly revenue that beat Wall Street estimates. – Additional reporting: Reuters