Iseq soars as most European markets buoyant on economic recovery hopes

Dublin market ahead by 3.6 per cent as globally-focused heavy hitters in vogue

European stocks marked their best day in nearly two months on Wednesday, recovering from a sharp sell-off in the previous session as data showed euro-zone business activity picked up in April.

Wall Street’s main indexes and the Dow also hit a record high as growth stocks bounced back.


The Iseq soared by 3.6 per cent in brisk trading. The banks were among the main movers as they rode the wave of economic reopening optimism that swept across Europe.

AIB was ahead by 5.9 per cent to €2.50 per share, while Bank of Ireland rose by 4.7 per cent to €4.89. Permanent TSB, which announced its new mortgage lending grew by 30 per cent in the first quarter, rose 1.1 per cent to €1.39.


The positive vibes towards global economic growth benefitted the Iseq’s homegrown multinational heavy hitters, who all did well.

CRH was up 6.6 per cent to €41.96, Kingspan rose 4.7 per cent to €77.34, while Smurfit Kappa Group was ahead by almost 3.7 per cent to €43.93.


The FTSE 100 rose 1.8 per cent as it was supported by gains in heavyweight mining and banking stocks on recovery optimism.

Shares of Croda International jumped 3.6 per cent after it announced a strategic review of two units that cater more to industrial customers as it shifts focus to consumer-care and life-sciences sectors.

Miners provided the biggest boost to the index tracking higher metal prices. Anglo American added 6.1 per cent, after Citigroup raised its price target.

The wider banking index gained 2.9 per cent with HSBC Holdings and Barclays jumping more than 2 per cent each.

British challenger bank Virgin Money slipped 1.6 per cent after surprise one-off costs, knocking its shares despite a return to half-year profit and a forecast for improved margins.

Building materials supplier SIG gained 7.3 per cent as it sees return to profits in the first half of 2021, and forecast higher profit than previously expected.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended 1.8 per cent higher, wiping out almost all of its 1.4 per cent loss on Tuesday, when concerns over policy tightening in the United States had rattled high-value technology stocks.

European tech stocks rose 2.7 per cent after a 3.7 per cent plunge in the previous session.

Europe’s basic resources index jumped 4.7 per cent to a 10-year peak, as copper prices hit decade highs on optimism about a speedy recovery in the global economy.

German cooking appliances maker Rational jumped 12.7 per cent to the top of the Stoxx 600, after it posted better-than-expected first-quarter results.

Danish shipping company Maersk was up 6.9 per cent after it said it was expecting an "exceptionally strong" performance in the first quarter to continue for the rest of the year.

Stellantis rallied 7.0 per cent after the carmaker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue but warned that a global shortage of semiconductors would affect production this quarter more heavily.

German fashion house Hugo Boss rose 5.2 per cent as it saw first-quarter sales almost double in mainland China, and its casual business returned to growth.

New York

Technology-related companies including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon. com, Facebook and Alphabet rose between 0.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent. The S&P 500 technology sector gained 0.9 per cent, while the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index added 1.8 per cent.

Boeing fell 1.6 per cent after US air safety officials asked it to supply fresh analysis and documentation showing 737 Max subsystems would not be affected by electrical grounding issues.

T-Mobile US jumped 4.7 per cent as it raised its full-year postpaid subscriber net additions forecast.

Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors rose in early afternoon trading, with commodity-sensitive sectors including energy and materials rising 3.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.

Defensive utilities fell 2.2 per cent and real estate dropped 1.3 per cent, leading sectoral declines. – (Additional reporting: Reuters)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times