Irish stocks at highest level since October
European shares nudge up on better-than-expected German and US data
Independent News & Media, the subject of takeover speculation, rose 4.2 per cent to just under 10 cent. Photograph: Alan Betson
European shares rounded off a solid week on Friday with a slight gain, as better-than-expected German and US economic data boosted investors’ risk appetite, while Irish stocks rose to their best closing level in nearly half a year.
Hopes of a US-China trade deal also lifted sentiment.
The Iseq index closed up 1.1 per cent, outperforming the major European indices and reaching levels not seen since October, although the session was light on trading volumes and there was little stock-specific news. Food sector stocks performed well, with Glanbia rising 1.5 per cent to €17.61 and Kerry advancing 1.8 per cent to €98.45.
It was also a good session for building materials group CRH, which added 1.9 per cent to close at €29.48, while insulation-maker Kingspan climbed 2.6 per cent to €44.82.
While airlines across Europe generally had a good day on the markets, Ryanair fell 1.3 per cent to €11.51.
Independent News & Media, the subject of takeover speculation, rose 4.2 per cent to just under 10 cent.
The Ftse 100 held firmly at its six-month high, marking a strong finish to the week as better-than-expected US jobs data eased fears of a global economic slowdown, while the pound weakened on growing Brexit jitters and lifted exporters.
The blue-chip index advanced 0.6 per cent, while the midcaps rose 0.2 per cent as weakness in sterling capped gains. Oil majors Shell and BP surged over 1 per cent, tracking a rise in oil prices over fears that an escalating conflict in Libya could disrupt oil supplies from the Opec member.
Miners followed suit, with a 0.8 per cent rise as they found their support in higher zinc prices.
Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings shares closed up almost 1 per cent, having traded higher earlier in the session, after it posted 8 per cent growth in quarterly net gaming revenue. The Ftse 250 company is weathering regulatory changes.
Vodafone ended down 2.2 per cent on a subdued day for telecoms stocks.
The pan-region Stoxx 600 index edged up 0.1 per cent, as most indices across Europe rose. The German Dax and the French Cac 40 both inched up 0.2 per cent.
Chemicals stocks helped prop up the regional benchmark on Friday, with Switzerland’s Ems-Chemie Holding climbing 5.9 per cent after beating a first-quarter net sales target. A 0.6 per cent rise in oil prices supported European oil and gas stocks, which rose 0.9 per cent.
Morgan Stanley analysts’ recommendation to buy oil field services firms helped France’s TechnipFMC, which rose 3.9 per cent.
More complications arose for a possible merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, as it emerged the European Central Bank will ask Deutsche Bank to raise fresh funds before it gives the go-ahead for a deal. Commerzbank shares rose 1.7 per cent, while those of Deutsche bank slipped 1.2 per cent.
Zurich Insurance Group shares dropped 4.4 per cent as they traded ex-dividend.
Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Friday, climbing towards all-time highs, after data showed employment growth was better-than-expected in March, easing concerns of a domestic slowdown.
Dow Inc dropped 4.5 per cent after JP Morgan started coverage on the company, which was spun off from DowDuPont, with an “underweight” rating.
Intel slipped 1.1 per cent after Wells Fargo downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform”.
Boeing dipped 0.5 per cent after brokerage UBS cut its price target on its shares and said the preliminary Ethiopian report pointed to the MCAS anti-stall software as a common contributor to the recent fatal crashes.
– Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg