Stocks continued their rebound on growing investor confidence triggered by indications from EU banking chief Mario Draghi that more support for the market is on the way in March.
The European Central Bank president's remarks helped to buoy markets on Thursday and the trend continued to the end of the business week. The Stoxx 600 has fallen 7.5 per cent this year and entered a bear market last week. Cold weather on either side of the Atlantic pushed up oil prices aiding the performance of some markets.
The Irish index underperformed
, but traders blamed a fall in the price of low-cost airline,
, one of its higher-weighted stocks, for holding its back.
Ryanair ended the day down 0.66 per cent at €14.40 after about 1.85 million of its shares changed hands. Dealers suggested two reasons for the dip: the stronger oil price and the possibility it will give a cautious outlook for its last quarter when it publishes results next week.
Another heavyweight, packaging group, Smurfit Kappa, gained 2.2 per cent to close at €21.87 on trades totalling 1.9 million shares. Brokers said overall volumes in the market were "patchy" and noted that some big sell orders took time to clear.
Financial services group, IFG, rose 5.5 per cent to €2.09 after little more than 31,000 shares changed hands. Drinks group C&C rose 2.31 per cent to close at €3.581. Hotel group, Dalata, ended the day flat at €4.78 but fell sharply in early trade thanks to a big seller.
, rose 14.4 per cent to close at 147.8 pence sterling as crude prices recovered strongly. The benchmark Brent crude lifted by more than two dollars to $31.44 after a 13-year low of $27.50 earlier in the week.
The move helped to push up oil-related stocks, BP and Royal Dutch Shell were notable risers, lifting 10.5p to 352.7p and 69.5p to 1388p respectively. Miners had a more mixed day. Anglo American slumped 8.6 per cent to 226.7 pence, Glencore weakened by 4.5 per cent to 78.6 pence, while Rio Tinto fell 1.1 per cent. Some dealers say Anglo could even drop out of the FTSE 100 index if its shares continue to fall.
Education giant Pearson was one of the few top flight fallers, slipping almost 2 per cent or 14.5p to 757.5p, after it was the biggest riser in the FTSE 100 Index on Thursday. The group said it would axe about 4,000 jobs as part of a group-wide cost-cutting plan.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 3 per cent to 338.36 at the close of trading, taking its two-day climb to 5 per cent. It added 2.6 per cent this week, its biggest such gain since November.
Among stocks moving on corporate news, Tod’s gained 3.7 per cent after reporting better-than-expected sales for the fourth quarter and full year.
Sandvik rose 6.6 per cent after saying that it has appointed Electrolux chief financial officer Tomas Eliasson as its new chief financial officer.
Wall Street surged 2 per cent to wrap up its first positive week of the year as the cold snap in the
and Europe sent oil prices sharply higher.
Apple was up 5.3 per cent at $101.42 and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster advised investors to buy into the iPhone maker heading into its quarterly results next week.
Shares of General Electric were down 1.2 per cent at $28.24 after the company's quarterly revenue missed analysts' estimates. American Express was down 12 per cent at $55.06 after the company issued disappointing earnings forecast.
Schlumberger was up 6.1 per cent at $65.20 after the world's biggest oilfield services company reported better-than-expected profit and set a $10 billion buyback programme.