Upbeat jobs news in US prompts investors’ hopes of interest rates rise

Markets also aided by optimism about weekend’s French presidential election

Ryanair gained 1.14 per cent to €16.19 as International Airlines Group (IAG) – owner of its rival Aer Lingus – reported better than expected first quarter earnings. File photograph: Stephanine Lecocq/EPA

Ryanair gained 1.14 per cent to €16.19 as International Airlines Group (IAG) – owner of its rival Aer Lingus – reported better than expected first quarter earnings. File photograph: Stephanine Lecocq/EPA

 

Stocks rose on Friday on the back of upbeat jobs news from the US, prompting investors to bet that the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates in coming weeks.

Cautious optimism that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron would defeat far-right runner, Marine le Pen, in this weekend’s French presidential race also aided markets.

DUBLIN

Ryanair gained 1.14 per cent to €16.19 as International Airlines Group (IAG) – owner of its rival Aer Lingus – reported better than expected first quarter earnings.

Multinational packaging group Smurfit Kappa added 1.96 per cent to €25.955 . The company reported a 1 per cent dip in earnings, but still beat market expectations and pledged to focus on increasing prices over the rest of the year to compensate for rising costs.

Bank of Ireland gained 3.6 per cent to close at 25.9 cent. Dealers noted that it was significant that it passed the 25 cent mark. Close to 100 million of the lender’s shares changed hands in Dublin.

Irish-Swiss bakery group, Aryzta, climbed 6.73 per cent to €33.05.

LONDON

Aer Lingus owner owner IAG jumped 5.5 per cent to 603.5 pence sterling after posting a better-than-expected set of results. The news had a knock-on effect on rival Easyjet which gained 4.1 percent.

Irish explorer Tullow Oil, which has its main listing in London, advanced 1.95 per cent to 203.8p as oil price rose 1.8 per cent.

Shares in education publisher, Pearson, rose 81.5p to 739.5p after the company said that it would slash costs by £300 million a year by the end of 2019, adding it had started a “strategic review” of its US school publishing business.

It adds to the £650 million of previously-announced savings over the past four years, with the efficiency drive leading to the loss of 4,000 full-time staff across the business last year.

Shares in Marks and Spencer group jumped 17.7p to 375.2p after the announcement of the appointment of former Asda boss Archie Norman as chairman, who will take his position on September 1st, replacing Robert Swannell, who will retire after six years in the role.

Debenhams shares rose 0.55p to 51.8p despite news 26,000 customers have had their data compromised after its flowers website was hit by a cyber attack.

EUROPE

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.7 per cent at the close, after falling as much as 0.4 per cent earlier in the day. Energy shares advanced as oil rebounded, while mining shares jumped the most in seven weeks as metal prices climbed. The Stoxx 600 rose 1.9 per cent this week.

Statoil gained 3.09 per cent to close at 146.6 Norwegian kroner on the back of the oil price move. Royal Dutch Shell added 2.06 per cent to end the day at €24.48.

While positive news from IAG supported some airlines’ shares, continental carrier’s Lufthansa and Air France KLM were more muted. Lufthansa rose 0.34 per cent to €16.32. Air France KLM added 0.35 per cent to €8.38.

Some shares were active after reporting results. JCDecaux SA slid 4.1 percent after its second-quarter outlook was deemed cautious by some analysts.

US

US stocks were little changed on Friday as a rebound in energy companies due to higher oil prices was offset by healthcare stocks and a sharp drop in IBM. The technology giant’s shares fell 2.3 per cent to a six-month low of $155.46 after Warren Buffett said he sold nearly a third of his stake in the company. The stock was the biggest drag on the blue-chip Dow index as well as the benchmark S&P 500 index.

A Labour Department report showed 211,000 jobs were added in April, accelerating sharply from March and pointing to tightening in the labour market.

Cognizant rose 3.7 per cent to $62.95 after the IT services provider’s profit beat estimates. Fluor fell 6 per cent to $47.60 and was the biggest decliner on the S&P after the engineering and construction company’s profit missed estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,749 to 1,047. On the Nasdaq, 1,481 issues fell and 1,263 advanced.

- (Additional reporting: Reuters)