US job figures help markets end higher

Elan major mover in Dublin after higher bid from Royalty Pharma

The Elan plant in Athlone. Its shares gained 5.6 per cent to close at almost €10

The Elan plant in Athlone. Its shares gained 5.6 per cent to close at almost €10


European shares ended sharply higher yesterday, reversing early losses, after US jobs data showed the economy was growing modestly but not enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to wind down its stimulus measures.

In Dublin the focus was on Irish drug-maker Elan. It gained 5.6 per cent to close at almost €10 after Royalty Pharma increased its offer to buy it by 5 per cent to $6.7 billion. The US investment firm, seeking to get its hands on Elan’s lucrative royalties from multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, has already had two bids rejected by Elan’s board in a battle that has turned increasingly bitter.

There was a good end to the week having started it on a dip following the bank holiday, according to one Dublin stockbroker. The ISEQ rallied 1.4 per cent.

CPL resources was the main mover, closing at €6.20, up 10.7 per cent from €5.60.

Elan was the other major mover, up 5.5 per cent to €9.97 after a higher bid from Royalty Pharmaceuticals, its highest price in almost a year.

Building materials giant CRH gained 2 per cent to close at €15.91. Fresh food distributor Total Produce was down 2.48 per cent to €6.65.

The FTSE 100 climbed 75.88 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 6,411.99 at the close. The index has fallen 2.6 per cent this week, the biggest drop since November, amid speculation the US Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy by trimming bond purchases as the US economy strengthens.

The top gainers were insurers after Credit Suisse highlighted the sector as making steady improvement, favouring Prudential and Aviva in the UK. Prudential was the strongest blue-chip performer, ahead 5.5 per cent, while Aviva added 2.8 per cent.

Severn Trent advanced 2.5 per cent to 2,070 pence, snapping four days of losses.

Partnership Assurance, an annuity provider owned by private equity group Cinven Partners, surged 17 per cent to 450 pence on its first day of trading in London. The company priced its initial public offering at 385 pence a share.

Aberdeen Asset Management dropped 1.7 per cent to 415.7 pence, the lowest price in six weeks.

European stocks advanced, rebounding after the Stoxx Europe 600 index fell to its lowest level in more than six weeks yesterday, as a US report showed employers added more workers last month than forecast.

Royal KPN jumped 6 per cent after Sanford C. Bernstein raised its rating on the stock. The Stoxx 600 climbed 1.3 per cent to 295.4 , France’s CAC 40 added 1.5 per cent, and Germany’s DAX climbed 1.9 per cent.

The Euro Stoxx 50 Volatility index, known as Europe’s “fear gauge”, slipped 10.1 per cent, signalling a drop in investors’ risk-aversion following the data.

The rally was broad based, with financial shares among the top blue-chip gainers. Deutsche Bank added 3.8 per cent, Credit Agricole rose 3 per cent and UBS gained 3.4 per cent.

US stocks extended gains after a jobs report suggested the economy still needs the Federal Reserve’s support, soothing concerns that the Fed might end its stimulus efforts sooner than expected. The US non-farm payrolls report showed moderate growth in the labour market in May.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 16.12 points, or 0.99 per cent, at 1,638.68 in early trading.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 26.99 points, or 0.79 per cent, at 3,451.04.

Apple shares were in the spotlight in early trading after rival Samsung Electronics lost $12 billion in market value during trading yesterday amid concern over slowing sales of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone.

(Additional reporting Bloomberg/Reuters)