Smurfit Kappa up in Dublin as Europe cheers positive earnings

Automakes lead European gains on hopes of top brand Porsche listing from Volkswagen

European stocks surged on Wednesday to their biggest daily gain in two months, buoyed by a batch of strong trading updates. A better-than-expected set of full-year figures from Smurfit Kappa provided a focus for investors in the Dublin market.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 1.7 per cent, with automakers leading gains with a 4 per cent jump amid hopes that Volkswagen will listing of its luxury brand Porsche on the stock market.

DUBLIN

The Iseq overall index moved 1.9 per cent higher to 8,419.25. Smurfit Kappa added 1.7 per cent to €47.71 as the cardboard box maker reported better-than-expected full-year earnings, even as it absorbed a spike in energy costs and recycled cardboard, which are used to make new boxes.

Banking stocks were also in demand, with AIB up 1.7 per cent at €2.67 and Bank of Ireland advancing 2.3 per cent to €6.89, as analysts highlighted how their loan books stand to benefit as households take on debt over the coming years to part-fund insulation projects supported by a new Government retrofitting scheme.

Travel-related shares were in focus, with Ryanair up 2.9 per cent at €17.73, while Irish Continental Group (ICG) advanced 2.3 per cent to €4.44.

LONDON

The UK’s FTSE 100 blue-chip index touched fresh two-year highs, joining a rally in global stock markets as investors cheered strong earnings while setting aside concerns about rising interest rates. It closed up 1 per cent.

Travel stocks such as TUI, Wizz Air and EasyJet rose between 3.7 per cent and 9.7 per cent.

Barratt Developments added 1 per cent as it expects to build 250 more homes than its previous annual forecast, which would also cross pre-pandemic levels, easing concerns about demand in Britain's housing market.

Vodafone rose 1.7 per cent after a spokesperson from French telecoms group Iliad said on Tuesday it made an offer to buy Vodafone Italia. The Financial Times reported Iliad has offered more than €11 billion for the unit.

EUROPE

Volkswagen was among the top boosts to the index, up 6.1 per cent, as a Reuters story fuelled hopes there could be news on a potential listing of its Porsche brand at the group’s annual press conference scheduled for March 15th.

Broader European sectors were buoyed by optimism over strong earnings in French funds manager Amundi and Norway’s Equinor.

The Stoxx 600 has regained about 0.6 per cent of its value this month after shedding 4 per cent in January as traders digest surging inflation readings, hawkish central bank comments, and a slew of earnings numbers.

Adyen rose 11.5 per cent after the Dutch payments company said prospects for its business remained strong as it reported a 51 per cent jump in core earnings.

Danish jewellery maker Pandora surged by 7.9 per cent after saying sales will improve this year and lifted its 2023 revenue target.

Danish stone wool maker Rockwool International jumped nearly 20 per cent, after it posted strong quarterly results and flagged positive future earnings.

NEW YORK

Wall Street’s main indexes were ahead in early afternoon trading, with high-growth stocks gaining as a recent rally in government bond yields paused, while investors took comfort from upbeat earnings reports and signs of easing tensions in Ukraine.

Mega-cap names such as Apple, Tesla, Google-owner Alphabet and Microsoft rose. Facebook parent Meta Platforms gained as much as 2.9 per cent and was set to break its four-day slump.

Investors are awaiting consumer prices data on Thursday for clues on the Federal Reserve’s plans to hike interest rates after an unexpectedly strong jobs report last week raised concerns of a more aggressive move by the central bank.

Chipotle Mexican Grill climbed after beating profit and sales estimates, while KFC-parent Yum Brands rose after its sales beat market expectations.

Enphase Energy jumped on upbeat results, lifting other solar stocks like SunPower and SolarEdge Technologies. – Additional reporting, Reuters

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times

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