World stocks hit record high

Upbeat economic data boosts European shares; even Greece benefits from lift

CRH closed up 2.8 per cent at €26.55, following the announcement that regulators had cleared its planned €6.5bn purchase of assets from Holcim and Lafarge. (Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons)

CRH closed up 2.8 per cent at €26.55, following the announcement that regulators had cleared its planned €6.5bn purchase of assets from Holcim and Lafarge. (Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons)

 

World stocks hit all-time highs on Friday as corporate updates in Europe and a post- dot.com-boom peak for the US Nasdaq stoked investor optimism. European shares were also boosted by upbeat economic data, while prospects for a deal over Greece’s debt crisis lifted Athens’ volatile market.

DUBLIN The Dublin market was “reasonably positive” according to one analyst, with nothing hugely out of kilter.

It was a good day for CRH, which closed up 2.8 per cent at €26.55, following news that European competition regulators had cleared its planned €6.5 billion purchase of assets from Holcim and Lafarge. Property firm Green Reit was strong, climbing 3.7 per cent to €1.65.

The airlines both declined, with Aer Lingus stock falling 1.8 per cent to finish at €2.38 and Ryanair down 1.06 per cent to €11.22.

Bank of Ireland stock also ended the day weaker, declining 1.15 per cent to 34 cent.

The ISEQ closed 33 points, or 0.5 per cent higher, to end the week on 6,298.

LONDON Britain’s top share index edged close to a record peak on Friday, with heavyweight HSBC gaining after saying it was considering moving headquarters and miners tracking a strong rally in industrial metals prices.

Aluminium, nickel and zinc also gained 1 to 2.5 per cent, helping shares in BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Glencore to rise 1.9 to 2.6 per cent.

HSBC was up 2.9 per cent after saying its board had asked management to look at the best place to be based in light of new UK regulations, citing in particular the requirement to ringfence retail operations.

BAE Systems climbed 2.3 per cent after Europe’s biggest defence contractor said it had started an assessment of its US-based manpower and services businesses in its intelligence and security divisions.

On the downside, AstraZeneca fell 1.7 per cent after reporting a 6 per cent drop in first- quarter sales, hit by the launch of generic copies of its popular stomach acid pill Nexium in the vital US market and by the strong dollar.

The FTSE 100 index closed 0.2 per cent higher at 7,070.70 points, not far from a record high of 7,119.35 points set earlier this month.

EUROPE European stocks rebounded, extending weekly gains, as HSBC led banks higher and companies rose on sales and earnings releases.

Renault rose 3.7 per cent after posting higher first-quarter revenues as Europe’s auto market upturn more than made up for collapsing Russian sales and a prolonged emerging market slump.

Swedish home appliances maker Electrolux jumped 9.3 per cent after reporting a smaller-than-expected fall in first- quarter earnings. Thomson Reuters data shows first-quarter earnings are expected to grow 2.8 per cent from the first quarter of last year.

The Stoxx 600 rose 0.3 per cent to 408.42 at the close of trading, for a weekly gain of 1.2 per cent. Germany’s DAX advanced 0.9 per cent to 11,853, putting it within reach of recent record highs, as data showed German business morale was at its highest level in almost a year in April.

In Paris, the CAC was up 22 points or 0.4 per cent at 5,201.

NEW YORK The Nasdaq Composite extended its gains in early afternoon trading on Friday, hitting a 15-year intraday high, propelled by strong results from tech giants Google, Amazon and Microsoft. The S&P 500 also hit a record intraday high for the second session in a row.

Treasuries rose after capital goods orders unexpectedly fell, while oil retreated in New York. The Nasdaq jumped 0.8 per cent at 12.42pm in New York after topping its March 2000 record on Thursday.

Google jumped 3.7 per cent in early trading after saying first-quarter advertising volume jumped. Amazon jumped 15 per cent as its quarterly sales beat projections. Microsoft gained 9.1 per cent after quarterly profit beat estimates.