Wall St sets upbeat tone for European stocks, airlines jump

Ryanair closes higher on news that British government is to ramp up Covid testing plans

Danish shipping group Maersk, a bellwether for global trade, issued forecast-beating full-year earnings.

Danish shipping group Maersk, a bellwether for global trade, issued forecast-beating full-year earnings.

 

European stocks closed higher on Wednesday following new record highs for Wall Street’s main indexes, while airlines rallied on hopes of a shorter quarantine period for travellers.

Dublin

The Iseq index closed marginally higher in Dublin,up 0.5 per cent to 6379.03 points.

Among the big movers was Ryanair, which followed other carriers higher on news that the British government is working with Heathrow Airport on a plan to use testing to help shorten quarantine times. It closed up 3 per cent to €11.5.

It was a mixed day for financial stocks with Bank of Ireland up 1.5 per cent but AIB and Permanent TSB down 1.7 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.

Other movers in Dublin included Aryzta, up 1.5 per cent as the Veraison-led group of investors hit back against “misleading” statements by the company’s board.

London

The FTSE 100 was largely unchanged in thin summer trading on Wednesday, hardly reacting to a surprise rise in domestic inflation last month and the British government’s plan to ramp up Covid-19 testing.

Aer Lingus-owner IAG surged 7.6 per cent and easyJet rose 3.3 per cent on the government’s testing plan.

Shares of Penneys-Primark owner Associated British Foods gained 1.2 per cent as consumer price inflation jumped last month to its highest rate since March.

In the groceries space, Morrison shares gained 1.1 per cent after it listed its products on Amazon for same-day delivery. Shares in online grocer Ocado were up 1.5 per cent, while market leader Tesco’s shares were down 0.5 per cent on negative read-across.

Lower oil prices capped gains and dented trading in energy stocks, with BP and Royal Dutch Shell being among the biggest drags. Persimmon shares dipped as the company said the chief executive officer of bus company National Express Group, Dean Finch, will take up the top job at the homebuilder earlier than envisaged.

Europe

After a feeble start, the pan-European STOXX 600 climbed 0.7 per cent, with stock markets in Germany, London and France all gaining ground.

Danish shipping group Maersk, a bellwether for global trade, issued forecast-beating full-year earnings and said it expected demand for moving containers at sea to return to pre-Covid levels in the first half of next year. Its shares jumped 5 per cent.

Utilities took a hit as RWE fell 4.6 per cent as the German company launched a share issue to finance its purchase of wind turbine maker Nordex’s project development pipeline. Finland’s biggest utility Fortum slid 4.9 per cent as it reported an 11 per cent fall in its underlying second-quarter operating profit.

Wall Street

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes hit all-time highs on Wednesday as Apple became the first publicly listed US company to cross $2 trillion in market capitalisation, with strong results from retailers Target and Lowe’s also lifting sentiment.

Already crowned the most valuable listed company in the world, Apple rose 1.3 per cent to cross the milestone, while providing the biggest support to the three main indexes.

Big-box chain Target jumped 12.5 per cent and was among the top boosts to the benchmark index after posting its best quarterly comparable sales growth and online revenue that nearly tripled.

Home improvement chain Lowe’s rose 0.3 per cent after beating estimates for quarterly same-store sales. Off-price retailer TJX, on the other hand, slumped 6.9 per cent after posting a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Johnson & Johnson said it would buy Momenta Pharmaceuticals for about $6.5 billion in cash to bolster its portfolio of treatments for autoimmune diseases. Momenta shares soared 69.2 per cent.

Gilead Sciences fell 4.1 per cent after the US Food and Drug Administration refused to approve its experimental treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in its current form.

– Additional reporting: Reuters