S&P 500 reaches record high on Wall Street, European shares nudge up
Investors both sides of the Atlantic take a cautiously optimistic view of US-China talks
Investors on both sides of the Atlantic took a cautiously optimistic view of trade talks between the United States and China. Photograph: Aleksandar Plavevski/EPA
European shares closed slightly higher on Tuesday as investors on both sides of the Atlantic took a cautiously optimistic view of trade talks between the United States and China which are set to begin on Wednesday.
Donald Trump’s criticism of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes in an interview had earlier hit the dollar and boosted both the euro and sterling.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent to reach a new record. The index’s bull-market run is now 3,452 days old, equalling the longest such run in history, according to some definitions.
The Iseq nudged up 0.1 per cent in line with the performance across Europe. Building materials group CRH, the largest stock on the index, added 0.5 per cent to €28.76, while there were also gains for property stocks Cairn Homes, which rose almost 2.2 per cent to €1.61; and Irish Residential Properties Reit, which finished up 1.4 per cent at €1.46.
Insulation maker Kingspan, which releases its half-year results on Friday, added 0.9 per cent to €40.30, while financial stocks Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB also made gains.
However, Ryanair retreated 1.1 per cent to €13.48, while Glenveagh Properties declined 2.3 per cent to €1.08. Green Reit and Hibernia Reit were also among the fallers.
The Ftse 100 retreated 0.3 per cent as a weak dollar weighed on multinational stocks and results from BHP Billiton disappointed.
Shares in the mining multinational shares fell 2.1 per cent, making it the biggest Ftse 100 faller, after concerns over rising costs and the impact of trade tensions outweighed a 33 per cent jump in profits, which still missed forecasts. BHP’s final dividend, a record $0.63 a share, also disappointed the market.
British American Tobacco, Diageo and Unilever declined by between 0.7 and 2.1 per cent.
Supermarket groups WM Morrison and Sainsbury, and online grocer Ocado, were among top gainers, up 1 per cent to 2 per cent after data from Kantar Worldpanel showed strong sales growth for all three.
Retail investment platform operator Hargreaves Lansdown was a late faller, down 1.9 per cent after a media report US bank JP Morgan is launching a free digital brokerage service next week.
Mid-cap oil services firm Wood Group jumped 8.3 per cent after its first-half profit came in at the higher end of its forecast.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 0.3 per cent, with the Dax up 0.4 per cent in Germany and the French Cac 40 posting a 0.5 per cent gain.
Dutch brewing company Heineken fell 0.7 per cent, joining in with the losses for stocks with exposure to the dollar. Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem gained more than 6.9 per cent after winning contracts from Exxon Mobil.
German pharmaceutical company and Monsanto parent Bayer was among the risers, adding 1.5 per cent to €82.55, while French oil company Total was buoyed by higher oil prices and a move out of Iran, adding 0.6 per cent to €53.21.
Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest maker of diabetes drugs, rose 1.5 per cent. The Danish healthcare group last week agreed to buy Ziylo, a British biotechnology company, to develop new forms of insulin.
The benchmark S&P 500 hovered just below the record high set in January in early trade and then surpassed it. By some measures, this matches the longest-ever bull market run on Wall Street.
Stocks rose after some encouraging earnings reports and on hopes that the US and China could resolve their tariff dispute.
Medical device company Medtronic, which has its headquarters in Dublin, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit and surged 5.6 per cent in New York to $95.07.
Oil rose to its highest in a week, buoyed by the prospect of price support from US sanctions on Iran, though the US-Chinese trade dispute kept traders and analysts cautious. – Additional reporting: Reuters / Bloomberg.