Shares buoyed by hopes ECB will keep bond-buying scheme in place
Bank shares suffer as bond yields tighten
Travel-related stocks performed well despite increasing uncertainty over summer bookings. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
European stocks scaled a record high on Friday, buoyed by hopes that major central banks will remain accommodative despite signs of rising inflation, while a rally in miners boosted UK shares.
US stock indexes were flat as focus turned to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.
The Iseq in Dublin rose by close to 0.5 per cent. The index was weighed down by the performance of the two pillar banks, which suffered as government bond yields fell amid concern that the European Central Bank will continue with quantitative easing despite a rise in inflation.
Travel-related stocks performed well despite increasing uncertainty over summer bookings and doubts over the full reopening of the UK as planned this month. Ryanair rose by 1.2 per cent to €16.59, as its rival Aer Lingus cut some summer routes. Meanwhile, ferries operator Irish Continental Group was ahead by almost 2.2 per cent to €4.70.
UK markets made a strong finish to the week as the FTSE 100 floated to a month high after traders welcomed evidence that the British economy rebounded in April.
It closed 45.88 points higher, or 0.65 per cent, at 7,134.06.
FTSE 250-listed asset manager Sanne was among the day’s top performers after it said Cinven has tabled a £1.4 billion takeover offer. Shares in the company leapt by 68p to 840p at the close of play as a result.
Naked Wines slipped as it posted widening losses for the past year despite seeing sales supercharged by the pandemic. The retailer said its losses for the year to March almost doubled to £10.7 million despite a 68 per cent jump in revenues for the period. It closed 78p lower at 715p.
Biotech firm Avacta saw shares rally after it told investors it has had its lateral flow test registered for use in the European Union. Shares rose by 40p to 259p after investors welcomed the news, which came days after UK regulators approved the test.
The German Dax increased by 0.78 per cent and the French Cac moved 0.83 per cent higher. Reopening optimism has pushed Europe’s stock markets to record highs, with investors rotating into cyclical sectors such as commodities, industrials and banks that tend to benefit from an economic recovery.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.7 per cent in its sixth straight session of gains and ended the week 1.1 per cent higher, its best weekly performance since early May.
Travel and leisure stocks bounced from the previous session’s drop. Spanish hotel chain Melia rose 2.0 per cent after its chief executive forecast a return to profitability in June after 15 months in the red.
French reinsurer Scor jumped 8.4 per cent after top shareholder Covea agreed to an orderly exit from the company following a settlement over a frustrated takeover attempt and ensuing legal disputes.
The ECB raised its growth and inflation projections for the euro zone on Thursday but pledged a steady flow of stimulus over the summer euro-zone government bond yields fell after the decision, weighing on banking stocks. An index of the bloc’s lenders dropped 0.2 per cent.
Technology and growth-exposed sectors gained after inflation data calmed fears over a long-term spike in consumer prices. The S&P 500 traded just below a record high of 4,249.74, with heavyweight technology stocks serving as the largest boost.
Healthcare stocks sank 1.1 per cent and were among the worst-performing S&P sectors amid growing criticism of the US Food and Drug Administration’s controversial approval of an Alzheimer’s drug developed by Biogen Inc.