Ukraine uncertainty keeps a lid on European shares but US markets rebound

Tech stocks keep the Nasdaq riding high

European shares fell on Thursday as the war in Ukraine entered its second month and Western countries bolstered Ukraine aid and expanded sanctions on Russia at a special Nato summit.

US stocks rebounded as investors weighed economic resilience against the threats of rising rates and the impact of the war.

DUBLIN

The Iseq index fell by more than 1.1 per cent,as its banks and some travel stocks came under pressure. AIB was down by 1.3 per cent to €2 per share, while Bank of Ireland finished down by 2 per cent to €5.72.

Travel-related stocks were dragged lower as fears over the Ukraine crisis and the potential for fuel prices to impact fares weighed on the sector. Ryanair was down 2.4 per cent to €13 per share. Irish Ferries owner ICG fell by 1.3 per cent to €3.70.

Datalex, the Dermot Desmond-backed company that makes software for airlines, fell 4.7 per cent to €0.81

LONDON

The FTSE 100 ended higher, aided by healthcare and consumer staple stocks, although concerns about surging inflation and the fallout from the Ukraine crisis weighed on overall sentiment and dragged down the midcap index.

The blue-chip FTSE edged up 0.1 per cent, with AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline among the top gainers. The domestically-focused midcap index slipped 0.5 per cent.

A further boost to the export-oriented FTSE came from large dollar earning companies, including spirits-maker Diageo and British American Tobacco, as they benefited from a dip in the pound.

AstraZeneca jumped 1.1 per cent after European drug regulator authorised the use of company's antibody drug for preventing Covid-19 infections in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age.

Clothing retailer Next slipped 3.3 per cent after it trimmed its sales and profit guidance for 2022-23, reflecting the closure of its websites in Ukraine and Russia.

Fantasy miniatures maker Games Workshop Group jumped 3.3 per cent after announcing a dividend and saying that trading in the three months to February had been in line with expectations.

Europe

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.2 per cent by close after struggling for direction throughout the day. The Dax in Germany closed down 0.1 per cent while Paris’s Cac 40 dropped 0.4 per cent. Banks fell 0.7 per cent

Defence companies BAE Systems and Thales gained 1.9 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively, while Rheinmetall jumped 8.9 per cent.

Daimler Truck rose 7.1 per cent after it said it expected little impact on its business in 2022 from the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and forecast revenue growth of at least 14 per cent.

Telecom Italia gained 8.4 per cent after Reuters reported that KKR remains interested in taking over the Italian telecoms group.

Luxury goods group Richemont fell 2.1 per cent after selling its entire 20 per cent stake in Swiss watchmaker Greubel Forsey.

Meanwhile, Russian stocks climbed 4.4 per cent as some trading resumed after a month-long hiatus.

New York

Technology companies lifted US stock indexes higher at the open after a sharp fall in the previous session, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq up 1.19 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.63 per cent.

Tech titans Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, and Meta Platforms added between 0.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent, while chip-makers Nvidia and Intel climbed 8.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively to provide the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Apple shares were set for their eighth consecutive day of gains after getting hammered earlier this month.

Big banks rose with Wells Fargo up 0.7 per cent. Banks have underperformed so far this month even as the US central bank last week raised interest rates for the first time since 2018.

Uber Technologies climbed 4.5 per cent after the ride-hailing firm reached a deal to list all New York City taxis on its app. Shares of rival Lyft fell 0.9 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg/PA