Shares rise on growth optimism and hopes of tariff delays

Glenveagh rises in Dublin on land deals but falls back later in day

Optimism that central banks’ policies would support global growth and news that Washington would delay tariffs on Chinese goods boosted shares on Friday. European stocks had their best weekly performance in two months as a result.


Shares in house builder Glenveagh hit a high of 76.6 cent on Friday after the company announced two land deals and told investors that trading was in line with expectations in a statement issued ahead of its annual general meeting in Dublin.

However, the stock slid later, closing at 74.2 cent, a gain of just 0.27 per cent on the day. Rival Cairn Homes rose 2.73 per cent to €1.28.

Cardboard box maker Smurfit Kappa climbed 3.07 per cent to €25.53. Dealers said there was no particular news driving the increase, but noted that the easing in trade tensions had helped the group, which has operations in North America.


Building materials giant and index heavyweight CRH ticked up 0.39 per cent to €238.57.


Singapore-listed real estate player City Developments took the market by surprise with a €2.5 billion offer for Millennium & Copthorne Hotels whose moribund price soared 35 per cent to 680 pence sterling as a result.

City Developments’ bid of 685p per share for the London-listed hotel operator was a 37 per cent premium to Millennium & Copthorne’s Thursday closing price of 500p.

The Singaporean company intends to delist Millennium from the London Stock Exchange if its bid succeeds. "The offer enables shareholders to exit an illiquid stock at a significant premium," said City Developments chief executive Sherman Kwek.

He added that taking the hotel company private would boost its performance and better position it to deal with challenges that the hospitality business faces.

Tobacco stocks and consumer giants, considered safer bets at times of macroeconomic uncertainties, were still in demand, in a sign of the continuing nerves over global growth that have dominated markets since the start of May.

British American Tobacco jumped 3.4 per cent to 3,014p, leading gains on the main index.

Ferrexpo jumped nearly 8 per cent at one point and closed 4 per cent ahead at 248.3p after saying it expected first-half core earnings to rise "materially" on the back of higher pricing, production and sales volumes.

Construction firm Kier Group, whose shares plunged 40 per cent earlier in the week after a profit warning, added 7.2 per cent to 155.8p.

Among a handful of losers was Royal Mail, which fell 4 per cent to 195.9p after HSBC cut its rating for Britain's former postal monopoly to "Hold". Its shares had tumbled to a record low earlier this week when Jefferies analysts said the risk of state-ownership was likely to keep potential investors on the sidelines.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 gained 0.9 per cent with Paris-traded stocks posting a 1.6 per cent gain. Frankfurt-listed shares rose 0.8 per cent.

Sanofi tacked on 4.4 per cent to prop up the French index and European healthcare stocks, on news it has poached Paul Hudson from Novartis to become its new chief executive later this year.

The Stoxx's top performer was Dutch insurer ASR Nederland with a 5.8 percent rise, after rival Vivat, for which ASR previously made an offer, agreed to be bought by private European life insurer Athora.


Wall Street’s main indices rose about 1 per cent. Technology stocks, among the hardest hit due to the recent escalation in trade tensions, rose 2.10 per cent and provided the biggest boost.

The sector was lifted by gains in Apple, Microsoft and chipmakers, which get a major portion of their revenue from China. The Philadelphia chip index rose 1.13 per cent.

Beyond Meat shares surged 36.7 per cent after the maker of plant-based burgers said it expects to more than double its revenue and report break-even ebitda this year. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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