European stocks rally in face of poor US job creation numbers
IT was a positive, if not over-exuberant day for European stock markets yesterday, as investors mulled over job figures from the United States that didn't meet expectations.
While the unemployment rate there fell unexpectedly last month, the number of jobs created in December was lower than anticipated.
"Investors want to see a US recovery, but not too much," said Jacques Porta, who helps manage a $780m (€571m) fund at Ofi Gestion Privee in Paris.
"Investors appreciate the drop in the jobless rate. At the same time, if the weak payroll numbers continue, that may mean the Fed is not going to accelerate its tapering programme."
The Federal Reserve, which is trimming the pace of its bond purchases this month, may reduce them by $10bn in each of its next seven meetings and end the programme in December 2014, economists expect.
Ireland's ISEQ Overall Index was one of the few European stock indices to register a decline yesterday. But it shed just 14.77 points, or 0.31pc.
Stocks on the move included Ryanair, which fell 2.3pc, or 15 cent, to €6.60. The UK aviation watchdog said Stansted Airport would be deregulated from April, leaving room for higher charges at Ryanair's biggest base.
Ferry operator Irish Continental added 1.2pc, or €0.35, to €28.10, bringing it to a fresh yearly high. The stock has been recently tipped by brokers as one to watch in 2014.
Shares in Bank of Ireland -- which surged this week as it sold its own five-year bond and the State sold another small stake in the institution -- edged slightly higher by the close yesterday to 30 cent. They traded nearly 2pc higher earlier in the session.
In London, shares in Irish-founded resources firm Tullow Oil soared more than 7.6pc as there was speculation that Norwegian firm Statoil could buy it.
National benchmark indices rose in 15 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 jumped 0.7pc. Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 rallied 0.6pc.
Swatch gained 3.6pc to 569 Swiss francs. The biggest Swiss watch maker's revenue rose by 8.3pc last year in 2013.
Lufthansa jumped 8.9pc to €17.35, its biggest rally since November 2008. Europe's second-biggest airline said it expects costs per passenger to drop by 2pc in 2014 and forecast fuel expenses of €6.9bn, €200m less than the 2013 estimate.