Iseq sluggish as most other European bourses finish ahead
Global markets buoyed by hopes for US Covid stimulus package
A gauge of global stock markets hit another all-time high on Monday as optimism grew that US lawmakers would soon pass a Covid-19 aid package.
European shares were led upwards by economically sensitive cyclical sectors, as sentiment was lifted by hopes of a quicker recovery and multibillion dollar deals in the region.
The Iseq index underperformed its European peers, slipping barely into the red while other bourses surged ahead. It slipped in part due to sluggish performances from its major multinational stocks such as Glanbia, which fell 1.5 per cent to €10.17, and Smurfit Kappa, which was down 1.6 per cent to €40.68.
The pillar banks, however, managed to keep pace with gains across that sector in Europe. AIB was ahead 2.9 per cent to €1.63, while Bank of Ireland rose 2 per cent to €3.34.
Investors in insurer FBD continued to digest the fallout from its lost case last week over business interruption insurance for pubs, finishing the session down 2.1 per cent to €7.34.
Tullow Oil rose 3.2 per cent to just below 34 cents per share, as crude prices gained.
The commodity-heavy Ftse 100 was up 0.5 per cent, boosted by the likes of miners Anglo American, Rio Tinto and BHP Group, and oil producers BP and Royal Dutch Shell. Financial firms were also among the biggest gainers throughout the day.
Shares of British retailers were subdued as some of the biggest, including supermarket chain Tesco and bookstore Waterstones, urged the UK government to permanently cut business rates if it wanted physical shops to survive in the age of mass online shopping.
The midcap Ftse 250 index fell 0.1 per cent, led lower by technology-related firms.
Arrow Global Group surged 23.4 per cent after TDR Capital made a fourth offer for the European investor and asset manager at a price of 305p per share.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo fell 4.8 per cent after it bought Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands from the administrators of Arcadia for £25.2 million pounds, completing the break-up of Philip Green’s empire.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.3 per cent, adding to gains of 3.5 per cent the previous week, in line with upbeat sentiment in global markets, which saw Wall Street and an index of world shares hit all-time highs on stimulus hopes.
Dialog Semiconductor surged 16 per cent to its highest in more than two decades and topped the Stoxx 600 after Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp agreed to buy the Frankfurt-listed chip designer for €4.9 billion in cash.
France’s Veolia Environnement said it was launching an offer for all of waste and water management company Suez, valuing it at €11.3 billion after dropping efforts to win the backing of the Suez board. The French firms closed lower as new legal hurdles awaited the deal and amid a government warning of an increasingly hostile takeover battle.
Bitcoin surged to a record high after Tesla revealed it had purchased $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency and would soon accept it as a form of payment. Tesla shares were up 1.5 per cent, while cryptocurrency miner Riot Blockchain jumped 30 per cent and Marathon Patent Group climbed 33 per cent.
Tesla’s move is seen as key for bitcoin, the world’s most widely held crytocurrency, since Tesla is the fifth most-valuable US company, and its chief executive, Elon Musk, is among the world’s richest people.
Walt Disney, Cisco Systems and General Motors were up 2.2-3.5 per cent ahead of their earnings reports this week.
As oil prices rose to their highest in more than a year, energy stocks gained 2.2 per cent, the most among major S&P sectors. The defensive real estates and utilities underperformed.