Sunday 22 April 2018

Economic data in Europe and the US helps to lift stock markets

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

European equities rebounded yesterday as Italian banks rallied and energy stocks advanced, although a pan-European index was headed for its fourth straight week of losses.

The STOXX Oil and Gas sub-index rose 3.5pc to lead gains among sectors, as encouraging economic data from the United States and Germany helped oil prices to rally. Hopes that global oversupply could be ending helped as well.

Shares in BP, Total and Eni were all up by 3pc to 4pc.

Italian banks surged, with UniCredit gaining 8.6pc, the biggest advance in the FTSEurofirst 300 index. Plans for a state-backed fund that would buy up bad loans and plug capital shortfalls at banks should be ready by Monday, media reported.

Shares in UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank by assets, also got some support from optimism over a cash call at smaller rival Popolare Vicenza, which UniCredit is guaranteeing.

Britain's top share index, the FTSE-100, posted another weekly rise yesterday, helped by buoyant commodity stocks and continuing a run that has seen it outperform European indices.

Some analysts still weren't convinced risk appetite had increased, though.

"I think there is definitely an element of short-covering to some of the upside moves that we're seeing at the moment, and it isn't necessarily manifesting (in) any real risk-on sentiment," Brenda Kelly, head analyst at London Capital Group, said.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index rose 0.43pc, or 26.52 points, to close at 6,283.60.

Ryanair declined 1pc to €13.25, while packaging giant Smurfit Kappa surged 3.6pc to €23.22.

CRH added 1.9pc to €25.02, and Bank of Ireland was 1.2pc higher. Property investment firms Hibernia REIT and Green REIT climbed, rising 1.9pc and 1.3pc respectively. The UK’s FTSE-100 gained 1.1pc. Germany’s DAX was just under 1pc higher. France’s CAC-40 rose 1.3pc.

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