Positive car updates lift European markets higher

Rumours of CRH bid for South Korean energy group see shares rise 2.9%

European shares climbed yesterday, with car makers rising on encouraging company updates and Greek shares rebounding amid renewed hopes for a solution to its debt problems.

DUBLIN

Rumours that index heavyweight

CRH

could table an initial bid for the $900 million South Korean

Tongyang Cement

& Energy group drove its share price up by 2.91 per cent to €25.97. Preliminary bids for the South Korean group are expected today and reports have suggested that

CRH

would be among the suitors.

It is said to have hired Goldman Sachs as adviser. The move was one of a number for the Irish market’s leading stocks that ensured that it outperformed its European peers .

In a related sector, insulation specialist Kingspan rose 2.31 per cent to €20.82 on the back of a note from Davy stockbrokers, recommending it as a buy.

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa added 1.19 per cent amid reports of stronger pricing in the German market. The news eased pressure on the stock, which lost ground earlier in the week.

Bank of Ireland advanced 3.46 per cent on decent volumes to 35.9 cent, as financials regained favour across Europe.

LONDON

Royal

Mail

was the biggest FTSE loser, down 4.5 per cent after the British government said it would sell half of its remaining stake in the company, leaving it with about 15 per cent of the postal service.

The stock fell to 493.3 pence from 516.5 pence after the government sold the shares at 500p each.

Royal Bank of Scotland rose 1.9 per cent after finance minister George Osborne said Britain would start selling its £32 billion stake in the bank. The sale plan represents a milestone in terms of RBS's recovery from the financial crisis but also means Mr Osborne has given up on his original intention to sell the shares for a profit.

Standard Chartered fell 2.1 per cent, giving away some of the previous session's 5.8 per cent rise as hopes that Mr Osborne would change a bank levy system were disappointed.

Grocers such as Sainsbury, Tesco and Wm Morrison rose from 1 to 2 per cent, extending a rally in the previous session following a reassuring update from Sainsbury.

EUROPE

An 1.8 per cent gain by

Daimler

led car shares higher.

Daimler

chief executive

Dieter Zetsche

said booming sales of high-margin sports utility vehicles would give it a better second quarter. French car maker

Peugeot

rose on speculation it could be a target for rival

Fiat

.

Energy group Galp Energia advanced after being included in the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity ETF fund .

Greek shares rallied 8.2 per cent, rebounding from a 1.1 per cent decline in the previous session. Greece’s banking index surged 17.5 per cent.

Across Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 1.5 per cent and France’s CAC advanced 1.7 percent. The DAX remains up about 17 per cent since the start of 2015, but 8 per cent below record highs hit in April.

LVMH climbed 2.5 per cent after JPMorgan Chase raised its rating on the stock to the equivalent of a buy. Schneider Electric lost 1.5 per cent after JPMorgan noted the company said at a conference that the second quarter was off to a "weaker-than-expected start".

Utility Alstom dropped 3.2 per cent after a report that the European Commission may say that General Electric's bid for the French company would harm competition.

US

Citrix Systems

rose 7 per cent to $70.59 in afternoon trade after shareholder

Elliott Management

said the software maker should sell some units, cut costs and buy back shares.

Krispy Kreme soared 11 per cent to $19.31 after the doughnut chain raised the bottom end of its 2016 profit forecast.

Hess rose 5.6 percent to $69.29 after the oil and natural gas producer said it would sell half of its Bakken midstream assets to a private equity firm for $2.68 billion. – (Additional reporting Bloomberg, Reuters)

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas

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