Strong corporate earnings see European markets end April on high note

US shares fall on inflation worries slumped 12.5 per cent to a near two-year low as higher costs squeezed first-quarter results and the ecommerce giant said it expected to lose as much as $1 billion in operating income this quarter. Photograph: Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

European shares on Friday rose to their highest in a week as strong earnings reports and a rally among miners boosted risk appetite at the end of a volatile month dominated by concerns about slowing global growth.

US stocks fell as disappointing forecasts from Amazon and Apple pushed the Nasdaq toward sharp monthly declines, with the biggest surge in monthly inflation since 2005 adding to investor worries.


The Iseq index rose by almost 0.9 per cent, after a mixed performance by its heavy hitters.

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa jumped 4.9 per cent to €40.68 after its revenue and core profit both surged 33 per cent year on year in the first quarter.


Bank of Ireland, however, fell again, days after the exit was announced of its chief executive, Francesca McDonagh. It closed down 3.3 per cent to €5.80. Its rival AIB was ahead by more than 1.5 per cent to €2.08.

Datalex, the aviation retail software company backed by Dermot Desmond, fell heavily in morning trading and did not recover in the afternoon. It finished 6 per cent weaker on 75 cent.


The FTSE 100 rose, driven by miners and strong quarterly earnings, with investors now focused on the Bank of England meeting next week amid concerns over the soaring cost of living. The blue-chip index closed 0.5 per cent higher, lifted by a 1.2 per cent rise in shares of Dove soap maker Unilever and advances in miners.

The FTSE 100 has risen nearly 0.4 per cent this month, helped by gains in energy majors, defensive consumer staples and pharmaceutical stocks such as AstraZeneca.

Pearson added 1.9 per cent as the education group reiterated its full-year profit forecast after reporting underlying sales growth of 7 per cent in the first quarter.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.4 per cent on the day. However, it recorded a monthly dip of 2 per cent.

Reckitt Benckiser Group rose 0.5 per cent as it beat quarterly sales expectations, having increased prices to offset soaring raw material costs and flat volumes. AO World tumbled 13 per cent, after the electricals retailer warned of a hit to profit in the near term due to inflationary pressures and supply chain woes.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.7 per cent, trimming its monthly declines to 1.2 per cent.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk gained 5.4 per cent after increasing its sales and operating profit outlook for the year. French spirits group Remy Cointreau predicted a strong start to business in its first quarter to June. Its shares rose 1.8 per cent.

Dutch chipmaking equipment supplier BE Semiconductor slumped 9.2 per cent after it said its order intake in 2022 had been limited by lower demand for high-end smartphones and weakness in Chinese markets.

Dutch technology investor Prosus, which has a major stake in China's Tencent, jumped 9 per cent after a report said US and Chinese regulators were negotiating on-site audits in a key step to avoid US delistings of Chinese companies.

New York slumped 12.5 per cent to a near two-year low as higher costs squeezed first-quarter results and the ecommerce giant said it expected to lose as much as $1 billion in operating income this quarter.

Apple, the world's most valuable company, was also down – by 1 per cent – after its glum outlook overshadowed record quarterly profit and sales.

Exxon Mobil slipped 0.5 per cent as it took a $3.4 billion writedown due to its exit from Russia, while Chevron dropped 1.7 per cent as its first-quarter profit underwhelmed investors.

Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors declined on the last trading session of the month, with consumer discretionary stocks leading losses with a 3.6 per cent drop. Downbeat results and worries about aggressive monetary policy tightening have hammered megacap technology and growth stocks recently. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times