European shares hit a fourth straight record high after strong results from heavyweight Siemens and pharma group Novo Nordisk outweighed weakened miners.
Airline Ryanair climbed 2.35 per cent to a high of €17.015 on news of a further shake up of UK travel restrictions that moved Germany to the country's green list and lifted quarantines for those arriving from France.
Ryanair this week reported that it flew 9.3 million passengers last month, ahead of expectations. It announced new routes at Shannon Airport and Newcastle in the UK on Thursday.
Paddy Power-owner Flutter Entertainment gained almost 1 per cent to €145.05. The betting giant is due to report interim results next week.
Packaging specialist Smurfit Kappa added 1.67 per cent to close at €48.13.
Among smaller stocks, hotel business Dalata climbed 3.59 per cent to close at €3.90. Traders said it benefitted from generally better sentiment towards travel-related companies but noted that volumes were small.
The banks had a quieter day than when they reported results earlier in the week. AIB edged 0.9 per cent up at €2.24, and Bank of Ireland gained 0.5 per cent to €4.906.
Shares in aircraft engine and prestige auto-maker Rolls Royce soared 5.9 per cent to 110.68 pence sterling after it reported a first-half profit of £393 million, easily beating predictions that it would lose money in the six-month period. The climb made it one of the FTSE-100's best performers on the day.
Fears about falling Chinese demand send iron ore prices plunging, breaking the FTSE 100s three-day winning streak, as the fall hit mining stocks which account for a large weighting in the index.
Rio Tinto fell 4.2 per cent to 6,027p. Anglo American shed 5 per cent to 3,270.5p, BHP lost 3.8 per cent to 2,280p, while Glencore slipped 1.6 per cent to 324p.
The declines came in the face of Glencore’s pledge to return $1.18 billion to shareholders after reporting record profits and a 32 per cent rise in revenue.
Shares in Dundrum town centre investor Hammerson fell by 4.8 per cent to 35.71 after the landlord slashed the value of its portfolio by 6.4 per cent to £5.5 billion.
Diabetes treatment-maker Novo Nordisk climbed 5.19 per cent to 642.7 Danish kroner after raising earnings forecasts. Merck KGaA rose 6.83 per cent to €188.35 on similar news.
German giant Bayer AG plunged 7.6 per cent to €46.04 after confirming that it would pay $1.5 billion for US biotech Vivdion Therapeutics, which is developing cancer and immune system disease treatments.
Siemens, another high-profile German name, closed 2.6 per cent up at €141.38 after lifting profit guidance for the third time this year.
Online fashion company Zalando slid as much as 7 per cent after it said it had spent more on marketing to keep its customers shopping. The stock closed 4.8 per cent down at €92.68.
Adidas shed 6 per cent to €316 after it raised its outlook for full-year sales and profitability but took a hit in China.
Falls in Zalando’s and Adidas’ share prices knocked 0.5 per cent off the overall value of European retail stocks on Thursday.
US stocks rose on figures showing fewer Americans claimed unemployment benefit last week.
Health insurer Cigna tumbled 12.4 per cent after predicting a bigger hit to full-year earnings from the pandemic, leaving indices of healthcare stocks in the red.
ViacomCBS jumped 6.5 pre cent as the company said it signed up the highest number of new streaming subscribers in the second quarter, and struck a multi-year deal with Comcast Corp's Sky to launch the Paramount+ streaming service in Europe.
Robinhood Markets plunged 13.2 per cent and was set to snap a four-day rally fuelled by interest from retail traders. – Additional reporting: Reuters