Travel stocks gained extra mileage from the Brexit deadline extension on a day that markets rose across Europe.
Indications from European Central Bank official, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, that it would support the euro zone economy boosted investors' confidence.
Ryanair joined several aviation stocks that got lift off from the Brexit deadline extension. Analysts argued that the deal between British prime minister Theresa May and EU leaders to shift the day to October 31st would allow holidaymakers book flights without fear of disruption this year.
The Irish airline, Europe’s biggest, climbed 5.1 per cent to €11.635, a gain that dealers said was slightly below its peers. However, Ryanair’s shares suffered less than others exposed to the British market in recent weeks as it had already warned investors about the likely impact of falling air fares on profits.
Brexit news also added some fizz to cider maker C&C, which added 2.28 per cent to close at €3.36. Traders said that the easing of currency pressure and the positive impact on Britain , a key market, aided the stock.
Investors couldn't resist temptation after the news that Irish Continental Group was selling Oscar Wilde, one of its ferries, for €29 million. The owner of Irish Ferries gained 2.18 per cent to close at €4.925.
AIB added 2.03 per cent to close at €4.13 while Bank of Ireland was up 1.36 per cent at €5.57.
A number of stocks went ex-dividend on Thursday, including Dalata Hotel Group, which was up 2.44 per cent at €5.88, insurer FBD, which was offering a special 50 cent payout and rose 1.38 per cent to €8.80. Food group Kerry was another in this number, it was down 0.2 per cent at €98.15, as was Smurfit Kappa, down 0.27 per cent at €26.02.
Woodies DIY owner and builders' supplier Grafton, gained 6.11 per cent to 868 pence sterling. The London-listed Irish group is buying Dutch rival Polvo for €131 million a deal investors view positively, according to traders.
Aer Lingus and British Airways owner, International Consolidated Airlines' Group, soared 5.9 per cent to 545.4p as analysts predicted that "Brextension" would allay holidaymakers' fears about air travel chaos.
Airline Easyjet surged 8.38 per cent to 1,144 p. Tour operator TUI enjoyed a similar fillip, gaining 8.27 per cent to close at 775.4p.
The extended deadline and figures showing British house prices had improved helped home builders. Persimmon rose 4 per cent to 2,264p, Taylor Wimpey added 2.9 per cent to 188p, Berkeley Group gained 3.41 per cent to 3,820p and Barratt Developments added 2.05 per cent 616.6p.
LVMH, the luxury goods conglomerate whose brands include Hennessy cognac and Louis Vuitton handbags, rose 4.61 per cent to €344.95 after posting strong first-quarter sales.
Commerzbank rose 3 per cent to €7.45. The lender is edging closer to a decision on whether to merge with rival Deutsche Bank, which gained 2.9 per cent.
Villeroy's comments reassured the market and helped investor sentiment as they showed "the institution is willing to give the region assistance, if needed," David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets said.
Wall Street’s main indices dipped on Thursday, hit by a drop healthcare shares, but gains in financials ahead of big bank earnings helped limit losses.
The S&P healthcare sector fell 0.79 per cent, dragged down by losses of more than 1 per cent in UnitedHealth Group and Merck & Co. The Nasdaq Biotech index fell 1.29 per cent.
Industrial stocks got a boost from Fastenal Co's 5.5 per cent rise after the industrial supplier reported first-quarter profit that beat estimates.
Tesla shares dropped 2.9 per cent after the electric carmaker and Panasonic said they were holding off on further investment in Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory. Additional reporting: Reuters