Optimism over Greece and China leads markets higher

Shares in Ryanair and Aer Lingus up after sale of stake to IAG

Global markets signalled growing faith in Greece’s ability to clinch a bailout as US and European stocks climbed and the euro jumped the most against the yen in more than two years. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index capped its biggest two-day gain since 2011 as Greek contagion risk subsided. Treasuries fell with German bunds and the yen on reduced haven demand.

Investors were also relieved over events in China, as an intervention by the government appeared to have been enough to arrest a stock market meltdown in the world’s second biggest economy.

DUBLIN The Iseq index of leading shares joined other European indices in ending the week in positive territory. It closed up 1.8 per cent at 6,278,65.

Index heavyweight CRH was among the main movers, gaining 2 per cent to €25.46. Smurfit Kappa rebounded after something of a topsy-turvy week to finish up 4.5 per cent at €26.18.

Investors responded well to the news that Ryanair had agreed to sell its nearly 30 per cent stake in Aer Lingus to IAG. EU approval is now the only remaining obstacle to IAG purchase, and reports suggest conditional consent will be given next week after the British Airways owner offered more concessions to allay competition concerns.

Shares in Aer Lingus closed up 2 per cent to €2.47, while Ryanair also ended the week up 2 per cent to €12.44.

Elsewhere, an uplift in banking share prices helped boost Bank of Ireland. It was up 3 per cent to 37 cent.

LONDON The London market ended the week higher after growing hopes that last-ditch reform proposals by Greece will lead to a bailout deal with its creditors. The FTSE 100 Index rose 91.8 points to 6673.4, meaning blue-chip shares ended the week up 87.6 points.

News that Ryanair has decided to sell its stake in Aer Lingus helped IAG shares climb 3 per cent, or 16.5p to 531p.

Data showing a 5.8 per cent decline in new house building (its steepest fall in nearly four years) failed to spoil the mood. Barratt Developments rose 11p to 631.5p while Charles Church owner Persimmon climbed 34p to 1988p. Taylor Wimpey added 4.3p to 189.2p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Standard Life up 18.3p at 452.3p, St James's Place up 35p at 952p, TUI up 38p at 1077p and Schroders up 104p at 3104p.

EUROPE Stocks wrapped up the week with a 2 per cent gain after Greek debt negotiation held equity markets hostage for weeks.

The euro zone’s peripheral economies all finished the week higher, with Spain’s IBEX 35 Index rising 2.4 per cent, Portugal’s PSI 20 Index climbing 2.2 per cent, and the FTSE MIB Index jumping 1.9 per cent in Italy.

Banks led the rebound, with Banco Comercial Portugues, BNP Paribas, and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena up at least 7 per cent in the week's final two days. Carmakers and mining stocks bucked the trend, declining more than 1.7 per cent in the week amid concern that an equity rout in China would hurt demand.

Glencore and ArcelorMittal dropped at least 3 per cent, while Volkswagen and BMW fell more than 3.2 per cent. Valeo slid 7.2 per cent, its worst week in nine months.

WALL STREET US stocks rallied as equities erased a weekly drop amid optimism on a Greek deal.

Apple rose 2.6 per cent to halt a five-session slide and pace gains among tech shares. Semiconductors rebounded as Avago Technologies and Nvidia jumped by more than 2.4 per cent. American Airlines Group was up 3.4 per cent after the carrier trimmed domestic growth plans this year. Citigroup and JPMorgan increased at least 1.3 per cent.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.3 per cent to 2,078.12 in earlier trading, heading for its best climb in two months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 222.61 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 17,771.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.5 per cent.