European shares advanced for a second day after US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen reiterated that the world's biggest economy would raise interest rates only gradually in light of uncertain global growth.
Yellen’s comments reassured investors after recent data, including growth and consumer confidence, appeared to boost the case for a hike and left them less worried about a raise in April.
The Irish market underperformed its European peers with little news flow to stimulate interest in the middle of what is traditionally a slow week. However, the overall index rose, aided by the positive reaction to Ms Yellen’s remarks.
Dalata Hotel Group climbed 2.06 per cent to €4.46 after some 400,000 shares changed hands as its broker Davy published a note on the company yesterday that rated the stock as an outperform.
Analysts Robert Stokes and David Jennings said it planned to spend the €130 million remaining from its recent fundraising on buying the freehold on premises it is now leasing, buying properties from outside the group and building hotels.
Bank of Ireland dipped 0.76 per cent to 26 cent. Traders noted the volume of trades in its shares were "not huge".
International building materials giant CRH was more or less flat, adding just 0.08 per cent to €25.23. European peers such as Heidelberg were mostly up, according to brokers, although the US players in its industry were down.
Ryanair posted one of the more solid performances among the market's leading stocks, adding 1.11 per cent to close at €14.18. The company said it was opening a new base in Bulgarian capital Sofia.
Real estate investment trusts Green and Hibernia both made small gains. Green increased 1.07 per cent to €1.415, while Hibernia ticked up 0.3 per cent to close at €1.32.
Britain’s top share index recorded its highest closing level of 2016 yesterday, boosted by the mining sector.
Anglo American led the advance in commodity stocks with a 12 per cent jump to 492.05 pence as Berenberg Bank said the miner seemed to be positioning itself to attract a large corporate buyer.
Energy companies rebounded as oil recovered. Seadrill rose 5.8 per cent after the offshore driller with the biggest debt load was said to have hired Houlihan Lokey and Morgan Stanley to advise it in negotiations on restructuring $11 billion of loans and bonds.
The UK oil and gas index rose 3 per cent following a rally in crude oil prices. Shares in Irish-based Tullow Oil rose 3.9 per cent to close at 200.7 pence. Royal Dutch Shell was up 3.42 per cent at 1,706 pence while BP gained 2.82 per cent to 355.55 pence.
Premier Foods rose 5.7 per cent after the British food maker agreed to hold talks with McCormick & Co after the US company raised its takeover offer for a second time.
600 Index was up 1.4 per cent to 341.34 at 3:28pm. It is on course for its first monthly rise since November, paring its loss for the year to 6.7 per cent from as much as 17 per cent.
Among stocks moving on corporate news, Metro jumped 13 per cent after the German retailer said it was preparing to split in two in a move aimed at boosting its value.
Thyssenkrupp, Germany's largest steelmaker, climbed 8.1 per cent after Berenberg said Tata Steel's possible sale of its UK portfolio could trigger consolidation of the industry in Europe.
The S&P 500 and the Dow rose to their highest this year as investors took comfort from Yellen’s comments.
Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.17 per cent rise in the technology sector. Apple was up 2.1 per cent at $109.96 after Cowen raised its rating on the stock to "outperform". – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters)