Shares driven upward by mergers and acquisitions

Aryzta continues to regain some of the ground lost in recent weeks

European shares gained as mining stocks touched a 2½-year high on rising copper prices. Mergers and acquisitions continued to drive shares, with takeover offers sending German drugmaker Stada to a record high.

Britain’s top share index advanced for a fifth straight session to its highest level in nearly a month on the rally in resources stocks and stronger metals prices.

US stocks also climbed, following fresh record highs on Friday, as banks rallied and investors assessed earnings posting the best growth since 2014.


The Iseq finished the session up more than 1.1 per cent.



continued to regain some of the ground lost in recent weeks after its disastrous results and investor unrest. It opened the session up more than 4 per cent, and never relinquished the ground, closing 4.75 per cent in the black.

On the back of the general uplift in US-focused shares, the heavyweight building materials supplier CRH finished up 1.5 per cent. It will hope to benefit from the infrastructural programmes of US president Donald Trump.

Ryanair climbed 1.3 per cent on the back of an upgrade from Deutsche.


The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.3 per cent higher at 7,278.92 after hitting an intra-day high of 7,298.47, the highest level since mid-January. It now stands some 75 points below its record peak scaled on January 16th.

The UK mining index surged 2.2 per cent as the price of copper touched a 20-month high on the back of supply worries after shipments were shut off from the world’s two biggest copper mines. Prices of the other major industrial metals also gained.

Shares in Glencore, Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta climbed between 2 per cent and 4.2 per cent.

A number of price-target upgrades also helped the sector.


Steel and mining company


was a top gainer, up 4.9 per cent and top of the CAC 40 in France.

Elsewhere merger and acquisition news once again drove activity, after German drugmaker Stada said it had received two offers for the acquisition of the company, one of which is private equity group Cinven Partners. Stada rose 14 per cent before paring back to close up 12.8 per cent, leading gainers on the STOXX 600 index and finishing the day at just over the €56 offered by Cinven.

Italy's newly merged Banco BPM was the second-top European riser after its results, up 6.7 per cent. Peer Ubi Banca gained 6.4 per cent.

Renault benefited from an upgrade from top-rated Jefferies analyst, up 4.4 per cent, and peer Peugeot gained 3.1 per cent, while French mid-cap auto parts company Faurecia gained 3.9 per cent.

Top loser in Europe was Swedish defence firm Saab . Its shares fell 3.1 per cent after its quarterly operating profit and its dividend proposal fell short of expectations.


The S&P 500 Index rose 0.5 per cent to 2,327.98 by lunchtime, following a 0.4 per cent gain on Friday.

Financials jumped 1.2 per cent, with banks leading the way. The S&P 500 banks index leaped 1.5 per cent. The industrial sector gained 0.84 per cent. Financials and industrials are seen benefiting the most among the 11 major S&P sectors from Trump’s policies.

Among the weak spots were telecom stocks, which dropped 1.04 per cent after Verizon brought back its unlimited data plan, sparking fears of a price war.

Verizon was down 0.98 per cent. AT&T fell 1.1 per cent, T-Mobile sank 3 per cent, Sprint fell 1.2 per cent.

Apple was the top stock on the S&P and the Nasdaq, rising 1.2 per cent and closing on its record high.

Chemours rose 13 per cent after the company and DuPont agreed to settle lawsuits related to a chemical leak for about $671 million (€633m), which Jefferies said was $300 million (€283m) less than their consensus. DuPont was up about 1 per cent. – (Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column