Travel stocks propel European markets to Monday gains

Investor concerns ease concerning economic impact of Omicron coronavirus mutation

A British Airways Airbus A380-841 takes off from Heathrow Airport: Airbus shares climbed 4.35% in Paris on Monday. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

A British Airways Airbus A380-841 takes off from Heathrow Airport: Airbus shares climbed 4.35% in Paris on Monday. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

 

Travel stocks helped European shares off to a strong start to the week on Monday, with sentiment boosted by hopes that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus would be mild.

Some concerns about the variant were eased after a South African health official said the strain caused mild infection, while top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci told CNN, “it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity” so far.

That enabled travel and leisure stocks to advance 3.9 per cent, with the sector index posting its best session since May.

DUBLIN

The Iseq rebounded 3 per cent as markets across Europe recovered, with few fallers of any note. Trading volumes were light across several key stocks, however.

Ryanair rallied 4.6 per cent to €15.76, while there were gains too for Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment, which added 5.6 per cent to €124.00, and Dalata Hotel Group, which rose 5.6 per cent to €3.62.

Building materials group CRH, the largest stock on the index, climbed 3.7 per cent to €44.42. It was also a strong day for the banks, with AIB closing 5.9 per cent higher at just under €2.12 and Bank of Ireland adding 3.1 per cent to €4.94.

Insulation-maker Kingspan had a more modest gain, finishing 0.4 per cent higher at €100.35.

LONDON

The FTSE 100 posted its best session in over four months, with the blue-chip index ending 1.7 per cent higher as defensive sectors and energy shares led gains, though Deliveroo fell on concerns about a European Union ruling on gig workers.

British American Tobacco, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever gained nearly 2 per cent and were among the biggest boosts. Most sectors ended in positive territory as sentiment steadied after a volatile start to December.

Deliveroo ended 3.2 per cent down after hitting a record low earlier in the session. European peers Just Eat Takeaway and Delivery Hero also fell about 5 per cent each on fears of the European Commission’s proposal concerning employment rights and the status of gig economy workers hitting the profitability of these companies.

Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell added almost 2 per cent each as crude prices jumped on hopes that the Omicron variant would have a less damaging economic impact.

The FTSE 250 mid-cap index advanced 1.1 per cent.

EUROPE

After marking its third straight week in the red, the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 1.3 per cent. The technology index was the only sector in the red, dropping 0.5 per cent.

In Frankfurt, the Dax added 1.4 per cent, while the Cac 40 in Paris rose 1.5 per cent. Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB gained 2.2 per cent after Fitch upgraded the country’s credit rating to “BBB” from “BBB-“ as it expects the economy to expand after reopening from the pandemic-led lockdowns.

Industrial stocks were led higher by Airbus, which soared 4.35 per cent after Saudi Arabian Military Industries signed an agreement with the plane maker to form a joint venture specialised in military aviation services.

Roche rose 1.5 per cent after the EU’s drug regulator recommended extending the use of the drug maker’s RoActemra arthritis drug for adult Covid-19 patients.

European banks UniCredit and Deutsche Bank added 2.7 per cent and 4 per cent respectively, following upgrades from JP Morgan analysts.

NEW YORK

The Dow rallied over 1 per cent in the first half of trading on Monday as economy-linked banks and energy stocks roared back after sharp declines in the previous week, while Nasdaq struggled to keep pace as Nvidia dragged down chipmakers.

Blue-chip stocks such as Honeywell International, Chevron, Goldman Sachs, 3M and Boeing gained between 1.4 per cent and 3.8 per cent, powering the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher.

Wall Street’s major indexes swung wildly last week as investors digested Omicron news and Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s hawkish comments about speedier taper to tackle surging inflation. – Additional reporting: Reuters

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