Positive trade sentiment nudges European stocks higher
Three lead US indices hit all-time highs as CRH surges on positive results
Rising trade truce expectations, upbeat domestic economic data and robust third-quarter earnings have put the main US indices back on an upward track. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/ Reuters
European stocks rose for the third straight session on Tuesday, lifted by hopes that the ongoing negotiations between United States and China would yield a trade truce.
In the US, Wall Street’s three main indices hit all-time highs in early trading, as comments by president Donald Trump on trade as well as gains for Disney and Best Buy countered weak consumer confidence data.
The Iseq index ended the day in positive territory, gaining 1.7 per cent to 7013.74 on the back of a strong performance from heavyweight CRH. Share in the building materials giant rose to an all-time high on Tuesday as it forecast 23 per cent full-year earnings growth. The company’s stock jumped as much as 2.9 per cent during trading in Dublin to €35.05, pushing its stock market value to about €28 billion.
Elsewhere in Dublin, banks were in focus with Bank of Ireland up 3 per cent and AIB, rising by 2 per cent, although much of the gain was due to an index reweighting.
Kerry Group also benefitted from the reweighting with a surge in volumes in the latter part of the day. It closed up 3.6 per cent.
Other movers included Ryanair, up 1 per cent, and Kingspan, which ended 1.7 per cent higher.
The FTSE 100 eked out gains despite an 8 per cent slide in catering firm Compass Group, on growing hopes of a US-China trade resolution/. Gains in LSE after shareholder approval for its Refinitiv deal and a weaker sterling also provided support.
The blue-chip index added 0.1 per cent, while a 16 per cent surge in pet supplies retailer Pets at Home after upbeat profit forecast helped mid-cap stocks outperform and close up 0.8 per cent at its highest level in nearly 15 months.
The FTSE 250 index was outperforming the UK blue-chips as well as the broader European benchmark, even as the pound fell after polls showed the Conservative Party’s lead was narrowing before the December election.
On the main board Compass recorded its worst day in over a decade after the company said deteriorating business and consumer confidence hit performance in Europe.
Shares of London Stock Exchange meanwhile climbed 2.1 per cent after its shareholders overwhelmingly backed its $27 billion takeover of data and analytics company Refinitiv.
Dublin-headquartered UDG was down 1.32 per cent after reporting a strong set of figures that saw operating profits hitting $159 million for the 12 months to the end of September.
Swiss drugmaker Vifor Pharma was the top performer on the pan-European STOXX 600, rising by 7 per cent after the company announced the success of avacopan as a treatment for a autoimmune disease in a trial.
Shares of French car parts maker Faurecia rose 2 per cent as it said it was targeting record sales, profits and cash generation in 2022, partly helped by a boost from its acquisition of Japanese company Clarion.
Rising trade truce expectations, upbeat domestic economic data and robust third-quarter earnings have put the main US indices back on an upward track after a torrid summer.
Walt Disney gained 2.1 per cent on Tuesday after a report that its streaming service was averaging nearly a million new subscribers a day.
Best Buy was up 10.4 per cent following a strong holiday-quarter profit forecast. But discount retailer Dollar Tree tumbled 15.3 per cent after it projected holiday-quarter profit below estimates, signalling the fallout from the US-China trade dispute.
Among other stocks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell 9.6 per cent as the enterprise software maker missed fourth-quarter revenue estimates. – Additional reporting: Reuters