Shares climb on hopes US Democrats may unleash economic stimulus

Irish index pulled higher by strong performance from CRH

European stocks climbed for a second straight session on Thursday as construction stocks gained and commodity-linked shares rose on hopes of larger US stimulus after Democrats won Senate control.


The Iseq index of Irish shares rose 0.6 per cent in choppy trading, helped along by a strong performance from heavyweight stock CRH. The building materials giant rose 3.8 per cent to close the session at €38.74 per share, on a read-through from the positive numbers from French rival Saint-Gobain.

Ryanair fell 1.8 per cent to €15.51 after it announced it was slashing its capacity in Ireland and the UK until "draconian travel restrictions are removed".

Irish Ferries owner ICG rose 3.7 per cent to €4.80, as its rival Stena cut back on some services between Ireland and the UK due to delays caused by new Brexit arrangements.



Britain's blue-chip Ftse 100 index ended higher as investors bet on a bigger US stimulus while retailer Sainsbury jumped after raising its profit outlook. The index rose 0.2 per cent, gaining for a fourth straight day, with Sainsbury surging to the top.

Shares in the supermarket owner jumped 6.9 per cent after it raised its full-year profit forecast as it benefited from Covid-19 restrictions that forced people to stay at home.

Materials stocks including Rio Tinto and Anglo American added 2.7-3.6 per cent. The domestically focused mid-cap Ftse 250 gained 0.2 per cent.

Irish-backed British pub operator Mitchells & Butlers dropped 3.2 per cent after it said it was exploring an equity capital raise as a new national lockdown shut its sites across England.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index advanced 0.5 per cent to near February 2020 highs, while London’s blue-chip Ftse 100 gained 0.2 per cent and Germany’s Dax index was up 0.6 per cent.

Construction and material stocks were the top gainers, led by a 2.3 per cent rise in France's Saint-Gobain after it said fourth-quarter results would significantly exceed expectations.

Gains in Swedish industrial companies Atlas Copco, Sandvik and Volvo drove Stockholm stocks to all-time highs.

European wind turbine makers Vestas, Orsted and Siemens Gamesa all extended gains from the previous session. Renewable stocks are widely considered as winners of a Joe Biden administration, given the US president-elect's proposed $2 trillion climate plan.

Delivery Hero slipped 2.9 per cent after the German food delivery firm said it raised about €1.2 billion by issuing new shares to fund growth.


Wall Street hit record levels as market participants bet on more coronavirus relief aid under a Democrat-controlled Congress.

Economy-linked financials jumped 2.1 per cent, while industrial and materials sectors hovered near record highs on expectations that US president-elect Joe Biden would line up a bigger fiscal package and boost infrastructure spending.

The S&P 500 technology, up 2.4 per cent, was set to more than make up for its losses from a day earlier, when shares of some of the biggest technology companies dropped on fears of increased regulation.

The NYSE Fang+TM index, which includes the core Faang group of stocks that have led the Wall Street rally from pandemic lows, gained 2.1 per cent.

DXC Technology surged 7 per cent as France's IT consulting group Atos made a takeover approach worth more than $10 billion for its US rival, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Electric-car maker Tesla jumped 6 per cent to a record high after RBC Capital Markets upgraded its stock rating to "sector perform".

Walgreens Boots Alliance advanced 6.6 per cent, leading gains on the Dow, after it beat analysts' estimates for adjusted quarterly profit, driven by higher sales at its retail pharmacy stores and higher prescription volumes.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times