Strong earnings and rising oil prices boost European shares to all-time highs

Total Produce slides 9.18% to €1.894 after more than 6.5m shares change hands

Strong earnings, rising oil prices and positive sentiment boosted European shares to all-time highs again on Thursday.


Building materials giant and index heavyweight CRH climbed 1.59 per cent to €42.30 on news that US lawmakers had reached a deal on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending programme. The Irish group has a large US business and is one of the country's biggest asphalt manufacturers.

Fruit and vegetable supplier Total Produce slid 9.18 per cent to €1.894 after more than 6.5 million shares changed hands. Dealers said that large sell orders towards the close of business put its price under pressure on Thursday.

They noted that index tracking funds may be selling ahead of Total Produce's proposed merger with US rival Dole Foods and the launch of the combined entity on the New York market. The Irish company said this week that the price at which the merged group's shares will be launched on Wall Street had been cut to between $16 and $17.


Ryanair fell 1.99 per cent to €16.71 after enjoying a strong run over recent days. Dealers noted that there was "resistance" as the stock approached €17.

House-builder Glenveagh Properties added 1.31 per cent to €1.004. Rival Cairn was unchanged at €1.12.

AIB added 1.47 per cent to €2.075, while peer Bank of Ireland was up 1.41 per cent at €4.461 on what was a good day for Irish lenders.


Mining giant Anglo American climbed 5.36 per cent to 3,293 pence sterling after boosting shareholder payouts to a record $4.1 billion. Rising gold and silver prices also aided the stock's performance on Thursday.

Royal Dutch Shell added 3.77 per cent to 1,458.6p on surging oil and gas prices.

Low-cost airline and Ryanair rival Easyjet dipped 0.81 per cent to 881.6p as its industry's recent strong run came to an end.

Aer Lingus and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group, due to report interim results on Friday, was mainly flat, shedding just 0.15 per cent to 181.64p.

Irish builders' merchant and DIY chain owner Grafton Group advanced 1.19 per cent to 1,275p. Construction-linked stocks did well in London on Thursday, dealers said.

House-builder Persimmon added 1.7 per cent to 2,926p.


Aircraft manufacturer Airbus added 0.6 per cent to €116 after increasing forecast delivery and earnings.

French oil giant Totalenergies advanced 2.17 per cent to €37.50 as fossil fuel prices rose and the group announced a share buy-back.

Europe's biggest car-maker Volkswagen moved up 1.57 per cent to €207.05 aided by a second increase in the group's predicted profit margin in six months.

Finnish telecom equipment manufacturer Nokia raised its full-year outlook, boosting shares by 4.6 per cent to €5.18.

Among the decliners was Swiss bank Credit Suisse which dropped 2 per cent to 9.11 Swiss francs after reporting a near 80 per cent fall in its second-quarter profit, hit by the fallout from the collapse of Archegos.

Food group Nestlé dipped 0.37 per cent to 113.7 Swiss francs. Brewer Anheuser Busch Inbev slid 5.63 per cent to €54.85.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.5 per cent to a closing high of 460.57 points.

News agency Reuters noted that more than four out of six Stoxx 600 companies have reported interim results so far, with two-thirds of those beating market expectations.


The S&P 500 and the Dow indexes scaled record highs on Thursday as a slate of strong corporate earnings reports and data showing a pickup in US economic growth reinforced confidence in a post-pandemic recovery.

Auto-maker Ford jumped 4 per cent to hit a more than three-week high as it lifted its profit forecast for the year. KFC-owner Yum Brands rose 5.2 per cent after beating expectations for quarterly sales.

Facebook fell 3.9 per cent as it warned revenue growth would "decelerate significantly" following Apple's recent update to its iOS operating system that would impact the social media giant's ability to target ads. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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