European shares hit highest in a month
European shares climbed to their highest in a month yesterday, with food company Nestle among the leading gainers after an upbeat earnings update and Ferrovial lifted by a broker upgrade.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had risen 2.6pc to close at its highest level since March 14 in the previous session, was up 0.2pct by mid-afternoon.
The FTSEurofirst remains down around 6pct since the start of 2016, as concerns about a China-led economic slowdown have hit world stock markets and commodity prices, given China's role as a major consumer of oil and metals.
But oil prices rose slightly yesterday, reversing initial losses, after the International Energy Agency trimmed its forecast for demand growth but said a fall in oil output in the US was speeding up. That helped shares in oil companies such as Total and Royal Dutch Shell turn higher.
Nestle rose 2.1pc as the food group confirmed its full-year outlook after first-quarter underlying sales growth beat expectations.
"Nestle has printed a decent number and consensus should nudge up," Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said.
Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial rose 4pc, the biggest gainer on the FTSEurofirst, helped by an upgrade to outperform from underperform from Exane BNP Paribas. Burberry slumped 3.1pc after the British luxury goods group reported a fall in second-half sales.
In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index dipped 0.32pc to 6,264.02. Shares in Ryanair declined 1.26pc to €13.27, while ferry operator Irish Continental lost 2pc to €5.18, as oil prices edged higher. Shares in Bank of Ireland were unchanged, while Smurfit Kappa dipped 0.8pc to €23.98.
The UK's FTSE-100 was flat, while Germany's DAX was 0.67pc higher. France's CAC-40 rose 0.47pc.