Markets rise on US economic stimulus hopes

Markets report: Iseq gains slightly as uncertainty hovers over jobs market

European and US shares rose on Monday, as positive updates on president Donald Trump’s health, a US stimulus package and a spate of dealmaking activity lifted investor spirits. The Iseq index in Dublin finished the session ahead by more than 0.7 per cent.


Recruitment group CPL Resources fell 2 per cent to close at €7.45 per share, as uncertainty hovered over the Irish jobs market amid concerns that the Government might implement tougher anti-virus restrictions.

Building materials group CRH rose by 2.3 per cent and closed at €31.54 per share. The company tends to benefit whenever there is speculation about a renewed federal economic stimulus package in the US, as its products are often more in demand for big construction projects.

Tullow Oil finished ahead by 7.5 per cent to 19 cent per share, as explorers rose on the back of a surge in oil prices.


The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose for a third consecutive session to hit its highest level since September 18th, led by gains in oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index rose 1.1 per cent.

Shares of Cineworld slumped 36.2 per cent after the world's second-biggest cinema operator said it was considering temporarily closing all its screens in the US and Britain after studios pulled major releases.

Engineering company Weir Group gained 15.9 per cent after it said it had agreed to sell its oil and gas division to US heavy equipment maker Caterpillar for $405 million in cash.

Shares of the telecom operator Vodafone rose 4.7 per cent after it said on Monday that it received consent for a security package from its lenders, which was a requirement to complete the merger of Indus Towers with Bharti Infratel.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index gained 0.8 per cent, extending gains from last week. Sectors considered more economically sensitive such as oil and gas, travel and leisure, and automakers boosted the main markets.

Oil majors such as Total surged, with crude prices jumping more than 6 per cent.

Madrid-listed stocks outperformed with 1.2 per cent on reports of consolidation in the banking sector. Unicaja jumped 15.1 per cent after it confirmed reports that it was in preliminary talks for a potential merger with its peer Liberbank, which surged 13.6 per cent.

Italy's Nexi rose 3.1 per cent after SIA and it agreed a long-awaited merger to create a dominant domestic payments group with €1.8 billion in revenue.

French waste and water utility Suez fell 4.2 per cent after investment fund Ardian decided not to make a bid in competition with bigger rival Veolia.


On the stimulus front, Trump tweeted from hospital that a deal needs to get done. Democrats are optimistic that a bipartisan stimulus bill can be done, and House speaker Nancy Pelosi says his diagnosis "changes the dynamic".

Ten of the 11 major S&P indexes were up, with energy, the worst performing sector this year, rising 1.7 per cent. Materials and financials were also among the biggest gainers in morning trading.

The S&P banking subindex rose 1.8 per cent as the US Treasury 30-year yield hit its highest since late August. Real estate – considered a defensive play – was the only S&P sector in the red. The healthcare index added 1.7 per cent.

Heavyweight tech-related stocks including Apple, Nvidia, Amazon. com and Microsoft were up between 1.4 per cent and 2.2 per cent after weighing heavily on the Nasdaq on Friday.

MyoKardia surged 58.per cent after Bristol-Myers Squibb said it would buy the company for about $13 billion. Shares of Bristol-Myers rose 0.7 per cent.

(Additional reporting: Reuters)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column