Markets gain as investors weigh economic threats from Brexit

Iseq all-share index closed 0.42% higher on the day

Among gainers on the Iseq all-share index  were construction names such as insulation maker Kingspan and  Dublin-headquartered but London-listed Grafton Group. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Among gainers on the Iseq all-share index were construction names such as insulation maker Kingspan and Dublin-headquartered but London-listed Grafton Group. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Global markets edged higher on Friday as investors weighed better-than-expected corporate earnings and increased mergers and acquisitions activity in Europe against political concerns.

Dublin

The Iseq all-share index gained on the last day of the trading week, closing 0.42 per cent higher.

Among gainers on the day were construction names such as insulation maker Kingspan, which rose 2.43 per cent to €69.55. Dublin-headquartered but London-listed Grafton Group gained 2.33 per cent.

Irish-Swiss baked goods group Aryzta put in a strong performance after saying it is in advanced talks to be taken over by a unit of US activist hedge fund group Elliott Management. The company closed 12.45 per cent higher on its Swiss listing, where more than 28 million shares were traded. It gained 14 per cent on its Irish listing to 66 cent, where about half a million shares were traded.

Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment was another gainer, rising 1.12 per cent to €126.75 on the day.

Bank of Ireland, meanwhile, was leading the losers on Friday. The stock shed 4.4 per cent of its value to close at €1.82. AIB closed 2.39 per cent lower at €1.02.

European airlines, too, were under pressure on the day. Ryanair performed in line with peers, ending down 1.77 per cent at €11.91.

Cairn Homes lost 4.4 per cent to close at 76 cent after investors digested results issued by the group on Thursday. The company said it had agreed to buy a 1.35-acre site in Dublin from a company linked to one of its founding directors, Scottish accountant Alan McIntosh, for €14 million.

London

The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed the day 0.5 per cent higher and added 4 per cent for the week, breaking a three-week losing streak.

Insurer Aviva was the best performing blue-chip for the week after it said it would sell its Singapore business for $1.98 billion.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 shed 0.1 per cent and lagged its blue-chip peers for the week as a spike in Covid-19 cases spurred new curbs on social activity, hurting domestically-inclined consumer stocks.

Pub operator J D Wetherspoon was the worst weekly performer on the index.

Aer Lingus owner IAG was the worst-performing blue-chip stock for the week after it launched a heavily discounted capital raising and flagged worsening outlook for the rest of the year and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Europe

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.1 per cent.

M&A activity took centre stage, with Altice Europe’s shares soaring 24.4 per cent to a three-month high and on top of the Stoxx 600 after it agreed to be bought by its founder Patrick Drahi.

The pan-European Euronext exchange edged 1.7 per cent higher as it confirmed with Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) that they were in talks to buy the Milan stock exchange Borsa Italiana.

France’s CAC 40 index saw some changes to its components. Accor dropped 4.3 per cent on its exclusion from the index, while Alstom jumped 1.6 per cent on being included.

New York

US stocks rose in choppy trading on Friday, at the end of another volatile week as Oracle delivered solid quarterly results.

The cloud services company’s shares hit a record high after its earnings beat estimates and it signalled a recovery in client spending due to higher remote working-led demand.

Trading in so-called “stay-at-home winners” – Apple, Amazon. com, Microsoft and Netflix – were mixed but the mega-caps were set to fall between 2.7 per cent and 6.4 per cent for the week.

The S&P 500 was headed for the first back-to-back weekly decline since March as concerns about the massive build-up in call options tied to tech names exacerbated the sell-off.

Exercise bike maker Peloton Interactive climbed 4.1 per cent as it reported forecast-beating quarterly revenue due to a surge in subscribers and increased demand for its fitness products. – Additional reporting: Reuters