Iseq flat while other European bourses rise

US markets heading for record highs on stimulus and vaccine rollout hopes

Royal Mail gained 3.6 per cent after it raised its annual profit forecast on Wednesday, citing stronger-than-expected advertising, business and stamped mail volumes this year. Photograph: PA

Royal Mail gained 3.6 per cent after it raised its annual profit forecast on Wednesday, citing stronger-than-expected advertising, business and stamped mail volumes this year. Photograph: PA

 

Europe’s main index hovered near pre-pandemic highs on Wednesday, as gains in telecoms and healthcare stocks outweighed losses in the mining and travel sectors.

In the United States, the blue-chip Dow index hit a record high after tepid consumer prices data for February eased concerns about a spike in inflation.

Dublin

The Iseq index trailed its rising European peers, finishing the session on Wednesday relatively flat.

Tullow Oil closed up 0.8 per cent to 61.7 cents per share, after it revealed revenues of $1.4 billion, in line with guidance given to analysts

Mineral and resource companies struggled across Europe as inflation fears eased. However, Kenmare Resources investors shrugged it off, as the stock bobbed around during the session and then finished back where it started at €4.75. It also revealed in a trading update that 177 of the 1,500 workers at its Moma mine in Mozambique, where there is a Covid surge, are in isolation. It said production at the mine remains unaffected for now, as analysts warned it was “prudent” to reveal the situation now.

Ryanair fell 1.2 per cent to €16.53 per share. The airline revealed the launch of a “wallet” in its app for travellers to keep their vaccine certs and any other documentation required for travel during the pandemic.

London

The FTSE 100 ended little changed as easing inflation concerns pulled down mining and banks stocks and pushed flows into defensive sectors such as consumer staples and healthcare.

Mining stocks, including Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP, fell between 1 per cent and 3 per cent.

Defensive plays including consumer staples, healthcare and utilities, and oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell, were the top boosts to the index.

Frankie & Benny’s owner Restaurant Group rose 2.7 per cent, after saying it was planning to raise £175 million (€204.3 million) through a share sale.

Royal Mail gained 3.6 per cent after it raised its annual profit forecast on Wednesday, citing stronger-than-expected advertising, business and stamped mail volumes this year.

Europe

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.4 per cent after a rally in technology stocks pushed the benchmark to its highest level since February 2020.

Miners, retailers and travel and leisure companies led the declines in Europe, while telecoms jumped 2.3 per cent and healthcare rose 1.0 per cent.

German sportswear maker Adidas added 2.8 per cent as it aims to double its ecommerce sales by 2025 and make its products more sustainable as part of a five-year plan to lift profitability closer to that of rival Nike.

Germany’s Dax index has had a strong start to March, hitting an all-time high again during Wednesday’s session, with analysts pointing to the economy’s focus on international exports giving it an edge over other regions such as France or Spain, which have a more European focus.

Boosting its telecoms sector, Deutsche Telekom rose 4.9 per cent after Citigroup upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold”, saying the company has a solid position across all its market segments.

New York

Amazon, Microsoft and Tesla extended gains by 0.3 per cent to 1.7 per cent from the previous session, while economy-linked industrial, materials and financial indexes hovered near record highs.

Analysts mused that much of a $1.9 trillion relief aid, which was expected to win final approval at the US House of Representatives on Wednesday, could end up in the stock market and could provide a boost for GameStop and other stocks popular among retail investors active in online social-media forums.

Shares of GameStop jumped another 33 per cent, setting the videogame retailer on track for its longest streak of daily gains in six months and extending a rally that has already doubled the company’s market value. Among other “meme” stocks, Koss Corp and AMC Entertainment jumped 104 per cent and 13 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters