Irish and European shares rally at end of volatile week

Applegreen, Ryanair and Bank of Ireland shares in demand as Iseq finishes up 2.5%

Applegreen jumped 9.49 per cent to €6 as stock moves across the Irish market were driven by thin trading volumes

Applegreen jumped 9.49 per cent to €6 as stock moves across the Irish market were driven by thin trading volumes


Ireland’s stock market benchmark, the Iseq, joined a raft of European indices in a rally

yesterday to end a volatile shortened week of trading that had been driven by moves on Wall Street.

The Iseq ended the session up 2.5 per cent at 5,459.20, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 2 per cent, marking its biggest one-day gain since early April – and trimming its year-to-date decline to 14 per cent.

“It seems that equity markets finally experience some gains in the last few hours of a challenging year, to say the least,” said Fabrizio Quirighetti, chief investment officer for Syz Asset Management.

“However, this rebound looks like more technical, kind of a short squeeze after the sharp drop in the last few weeks, given the low volume and the lack of fundamentals’ support to explain it.”


Applegreen jumped 9.49 per cent to €6 as stock moves across the Irish market were driven by thin trading volumes, with Ryanair advancing 4.6 per cent to €10.63 and Bank of Ireland moving 3.68 per cent higher to €4.96.

CRH was also in demand, gaining 3.6 per cent to €23.03, as the building materials giant gave an update on its ongoing share buyback programme. Fellow construction related stock, Kingspan, moved 2.7 per cent higher to €37.02.

Bucking the trend, Aryzta lost 2.2 per cent to 91c, cementing its position as the Iseq’s worst-performing stock in 2018. It has lost 87 per cent of its value since the start of January.


British shares leaped off multi-year lows yesterday boosted by initial relief spilling over from the us, where stocks sprang back on Thursday following steep losses as a turbulent 2018 neared its end.

The FTSE 100 was up 2.3 per cent with oil majors BP and Shell among the biggest advancers, up 3.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively, as oil prices rebounded. Shares in exporter companies also climbed, led by British American Tobacco which rose 4.3 per cent.

Among a handful of stocks in the red, Xaar, which makes ink jets for printers, hit its lowest in over eight years, with an 8 per cent fall after a disappointing trading update.

In more bad news for the retail sector, HMV Retail said it would appoint administrators, putting 2,200 jobs at risk.


European shares clawed back some ground yesterday as a turbulent week drew to a close and investors licked their wounds after the region’s benchmark STOXX 600 sank to its lowest level since US president Donald Trump’s election.

Overall, analysts expect earnings from companies in Europe’s STOXX 600 to grow 8.4 per cent in 2019, the latest Refinitiv IBES estimates show. That’s more than the 7.6 per cent earnings growth expected for the S&P 500.


Global investors gravitated toward safe-haven assets as worries about the world economy persisted, cutting short a two-day rebound in Wall Street stocks. US indexes seesawed, making it difficult to end one of the most brutal December selloffs in memory on a high note.

“Markets will likely remain treacherous in the new year,” Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex LLC, told clients.

After some strong gains in the afternoon, the Dow ended down 76.42 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 23,062.4, the S&P 500 lost 3.09 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 2,485.74 and the Nasdaq added 5.03 points, or 0.08 per cent, to end at 6,584.52.

Markets swung wildly in a week shortened by the Christmas holiday, starting with Wall Street’s worst-ever Christmas Eve drop, pushing the S&P 500 to within a whisker of bear market territory. But efforts at a late rally failed to salve investors after a year that brought gains for very few categories of financial assets.

– Additional reporting: Reuters , Bloomberg