Wednesday 17 January 2018

Best bank rally since 2012 lifts European stocks from two-year low

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Rebounds in lenders, miners and energy producers pushed European stocks to their biggest gains in three weeks.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.95pc, or 54.6 points, to end the trading week at 5,793.41.

The leaders on the Dublin market included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which increased 4.7pc to €21.20, while fruit company Fyffes rose 3.9pc to €1.33.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included Ryanair, which closed down 2.8pc to €13.01 and Dalata Hotel Group, which fell 0.7pc to €4.29.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.9pc, rebounding from its lowest level since 2013.

Data showing that the region's recovery kept its momentum also helped sentiment.

Germany led the Eurozone's growth to 0.3pc in the fourth quarter, matching economists' forecasts.

Commerzbank jumped 18pc, the most since 2009, after saying it returned to profit. That eased concerns that the region's lenders will fail to find a way to remain profitable in a low-rate environment, which sent them to their biggest plunge since August 2011 on Thursday.

Deutsche Bank climbed 12pc after saying it will buy back about $5.4bn of bonds.

Energy producers posted their biggest surge since 2008 and miners their biggest since 2009 as commodities rallied.

"Markets have been scrabbling for a story - we've changed our focus on fears about China, oil, financials and central banks in such a short time," said Ben Kumar, an investment manager at Seven Investment Management in London.

"It's crazy that the market is priced for recession and a complete failure of the financial system. But you wouldn't want to call it the end of the rout quite yet."

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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