Markets rally on hopes that China sees end in sight to coronavirus

Irish bank stocks hammered as Sinn Féin seeks to form government

Key European and US stock indexes surged to fresh records on Tuesday after China’s senior medical adviser suggested the deadly coronavirus may be over in April.


The Iseq surged by 1.3 per cent as most major shares ended the day in the black. However, bank stocks were hammered as Sinn Féin, which has promised to tax banks more, sought to form a government. Bank of Ireland finished the session down 1.8 per cent to €3.86, while AIB was down 0.85 per cent to €2.34.

House builders suffered varying fortunes. Glenveagh Homes finished the session down 2.3 per cent to 76 cent. However, Cairn Homes recovered strongly in the afternoon to end the day up 3.5 per cent to €1.16. Several political parties have promised to spend more on social and affordable housing.

Some resource stocks performed well, as mineral-hungry China signalled an end in sight to its coronoavirus outbreak. Ormonde Mining was up 5.9 per cent, although it is still literally a penny stock, not yet reaching 2 cent per share.


Globally focused Irish stocks also performed strongly given global trade hopes, with Kingspan up 4 per cent to €60 and CRH up 1.5 per cent to €35.90.


The Ftse 100 added 0.7 per cent, helped by a 12 per cent surge in travel company TUI after it said strong demand for holidays would help offset a hit from the Boeing 737 Max aircraft groundings on its annual profit. Airlines EasyJet, Aer Lingus and British Airways-owner IAG also added roughly 4 per cent each.

The mid-cap Ftse 250 rose 0.7 per cent, helped by a 7 per cent jump in William Hill after the bookmaker announced a partnership with US-based CBS Sports.

After soaring more than 30 per cent in the previous session, shares in NMC Health gave up half those gains as private equity firm KKR said it did not intend to make an offer for the healthcare provider.

Intu Properties handed back almost all its advances from Monday and tanked nearly 30 per cent to a fresh life low after saying Hong Kong-based Link Reit would not participate in its cash raise.


German shares hit a record high on Tuesday, leading European stocks to a record too. Deutsche Telekom jumped nearly 4 per cent, driving the rally in Frankfurt's DAX, after the telecom giant's T-Mobile and wireless carrier Sprint got US approval for a merger initially valued at $26 billion.

Shares in Nordic network equipment makers Nokia and Ericsson also rallied on news of the US approval, helping Europe's technology index end at its highest in more than 18 years.

Overall, the travel and leisure sector rose 1.9 per cent. Worries over travel disruptions caused by the virus had led to a heavy sell-off in the sector over the past few weeks. Other China-exposed firms such as chipmaker ASML and Hong Kong-focused bank HSBC were among the risers.

New York

By the afternoon trading session, T-Mobile shares jumped 10.5 per cent to the top of the benchmark S&P 500, after a federal judge approved its purchase of Sprint, clearing the path for a deal that was originally valued at $26 billion. Sprint surged 71.6 per cent, while larger rival Verizon Communications Inc slipped 2.5 per cent.

Mobile phone tower operators, including SBA Communications, American Tower and Crown Castle International, jumped 4-7.4 per cent on expectation that the merger will result in additional tower sites.

The fourth-quarter earnings season has been largely upbeat, with about 71 per cent of the 324 S&P 500 companies that have reported beating profit estimates. Hasbro rose 0.2 per cent on better-than-expected quarterly profit, but Under Armour tumbled 16.5 per cent after it forecast a surprise drop in 2020 profit. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times