Shares lifted on hopes of US-China trade deal

Airlines see boost across global stockmarkets as Middle East crisis begins to cool

Easing tensions in the Middle East and hopes that the US and China will sign the first phase of a trade deal next week lifted shares across Europe on Thursday.


Ryanair advanced 2.53 per cent to €15.215 as airlines proved all the rage with the risks of a full-blown Middle East crisis receding.

Ingredients and food group Kerry rose 1.08 per cent to €2.81 while Avonmore milk-owner Glanbia edged 0.2 per cent forward to €10.12.

Mining company Kenmare Resources gained 3.69 per cent to €2.81 despite reporting a fall in the production of minerals from its Mozambique mine.


Insulation and building materials specialist Kingspan shrugged off bad news from the sector in the UK to gain 0.54 per cent to €55.50. The company's shares hit a high of €55.55 during the day's trade.

House builder Cairn Homes slipped 0.77 per cent to €1.292 while rival Glenveagh, which issued a positive trading statement earlier this week, shed 1.6 per cent to €1.19.


Building materials supplier and Grafton rival SIG slumped more than 20 per cent after warning that falling sales would leave profits short of market expectations.

SIG said in a trading statement that underlying profit before tax for 2019 would be £42 million sterling, £20 million less than the £62 million predicted by analysts.

The group’s shares tumbled 20.93 per cent to 94.25 pence sterling as a result of the warning on Thursday.

The news dragged down Irish builders' merchant, Woodies DIY owner, Grafton, which is listed in London and does significant business in Britain. The group ended the day 3.98 per cent down at 845p.

Similarly, builder Travis Perkins fell 2.88 per cent to 1,584p. However, Taylor Wimpey, another leading construction stock, added 1.42 per cent to close at 196.1p, while its rival Persimmon inched up 0.26 per cent to 2,730.

News that Irishman Willie Walsh would depart as chief executive of International Consolidated Airlines Group in June failed to dent investor interest in the owner of Aer Lingus and British Airways. Its stock added 2.62 per cent to close at 634.6p as aviation shares enjoyed a buoyant day across Europe. Budget carrier Easyjet climbed 2.2 per cent to 1,438.5p.

Troubled fossil fuel explorer, Tullow Oil, took another hit, shedding 5.06 per cent to 54.8p. The Irish-linked group has endured a torrid time recently after releasing disappointing production forecasts and poor drilling results.

Supermarket chain Tesco shares advanced almost 1 per cent to 253.3p as near-flat Christmas sales still bettered its main rivals' performance. Bernstein analysts said the result was very strong, given a subdued market and pressure from discounters.


Air France KLM climbed 4.03 per cent to €9.82 while German group Lufthansa moved 3.99 per cent ahead to €16.16 as both benefited from positive sentiment towards airlines.

Brussels-listed Argenx led gains on the pan-European Stoxx 600 after the antibody therapeutics developer updated its 2020 pipeline and flagged positive results from a midstage study. Its stock closed 6.28 per cent up at €150.70.

A 1.3 per cent gain for Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX stood out among European indices. The gauge also benefited from data showing better-than-expected industrial output in November that dispelled any remaining worries about a recession in Europe’s economic powerhouse.


Wall Street hit record highs on easing global tensions. Investors snapped up market heavyweights including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon. com, Google owner Alphabet, and Facebook, all of which have Irish operations, lifting their shares between 0.9 per cent and 2 per cent. Technology stocks rose 1 per cent, the most among the major S&P sectors.

Among the weak spots was the department store operator Kohl's, which slid 9.2 per cent after reporting lower holiday season sales. Smaller rival JC Penney dropped 10.8 per cent after disappointing same-store sales numbers. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas