Mining stocks climb as car makers slump

Market report: Rally on Wall Street on foot of higher than expected US employment figures

Traders in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, April 5th. Photograph: Reuters

European stocks ended the session little changed as mining stocks and oil companies climbed, offsetting a slump for car manufacturers. Carmakers were the worst performers in the Stoxx 600, completing their biggest three-day slide since January.

DUBLIN

The Iseq added 0.5 per cent on a day with little news concerning local stocks. Bank of Ireland, which had underperformed in recent sessions, gained about 4 per cent and closed at 23.5 cent.

Ryanair rose 0.75 per cent to €14.80, but index heavyweight CRH edged down 0.2 per cent, closing at a price of €32.59.

Drinks group C&C finished up 3 per cent at €3.76, but this was after a spike just at the close of trading. Hotel group Dalata rose 1.5 per cent to €4.66.

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Insurance group FBD fell 2 per cent to €7.80 on low trading volumes.

LONDON

London-listed shares rose, extending gains from the previous session as heavyweight mining shares and oil stocks rallied while Irish support services company DCC also gained after agreeing to buy a business in Hong Kong and Macau.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended up 0.1 per cent, outperforming the broader European market thanks to its large proportion of resources-related stocks.

Miners were among the standout performers, with BHP Billiton and Antofagasta both gaining more than 1.5 per cent as copper prices traded higher.

BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest exporter of coal for making steel also saw support after saying it won’t meet its coal delivery commitments from its mines in Australia’s Bowen Basin after Cyclone Debbie damaged railway lines.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose 0.7 and 0.3 per cent respectively. Even though they came off earlier highs, energy stocks remained the biggest contributor to gains in the FTSE.

DCC was also among the biggest gainers, ending up 1.7 per cent and trading close to record highs after agreeing to buy Royal Dutch Shell’s liquefied petroleum gas business in Hong Kong and Macau for an enterprise value of $145 million. It also announced that Donal Murphy, managing director of its energy division, would replace chief executive Tommy Breen from July.

South Africa-exposed insurer Old Mutual was the biggest FTSE loser, down 4.4 per cent, tracking a further fall in the rand after the ruling African National Congress Party (ANC) rejected calls for President Jacob Zuma to quit.

EUROPE

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose less than 0.1 per cent at the close. Stocks had advanced as much as 0.4 per cent earlier in the day after a private report on hiring showed a surge in US payrolls last month.

The benchmark is still up for the sixth time in seven trading days, having completed its third straight quarterly gain last week.

In Germany, the Dax fell 0.5 per cent, while in France, the Cac 40 was down about 2 per cent.

NEW YORK

Wall Street stocks rose in a broad-based rally, spurred by a blowout private employment data that reinforced the strength of the economy. US companies added 263,000 workers in March, the most since December 2014 and well above economists’ expectations of 187,000.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were up, with financials and technology giving the biggest boost. The Nasdaq hit an all-time high, buoyed by Amazon, Microsoft and Apple all touching record highs.

While the payrolls’ data provided some cheer, investors were also cautiously awaiting a meeting between US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping that starts on Thursday.

The meeting, which Trump expects will be a “very difficult one”, is likely to focus on North Korea’s arms programme and China-US trade.

Among stocks moving on corporate news, Panera Bread jumped nearly 14 per cent to $311.96 after JAB Holdings said it would buy the bakery chain for $7.16 billion.

(Additional reporting: Reuters / Bloomberg)