Monday 23 April 2018

Euro stocks hit five-year high

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

EUROPEAN stocks rose to their highest level in more than five years yesterday, but the positive news was tempered by the fact that the euro slid the most in six months versus the dollar.

Most of the major European stocks rose as better-than-estimated earnings outweighed speculation that the Federal Reserve may trim bond purchases sooner than forecast.

France's Cac 40 and Germany's DAX rose, while London's FTSE 100 slid.

Here at home, the ISEQ Overall Index closed up 1.13pc, or 49.31 points, to end the trading day at 4405.90, as figures showed a fall in the number of people signing on for unemployment benefits for the 16th month in a row.

The leaders in the Dublin market included Bank of Ireland, which closed up 4.3pc to 27 cents after European regulators eased the way for the lender to repay part of its government bailout.

The bank and Government had sought European Banking Authority (EBA) clarity on whether €1.8bn of preferred shares in the lender would still count as core Tier 1 capital, a measure of financial strength, if sold to private investors. The EBA ruled that the notes, if sold, would count as capital reserves to the end of 2017.

Drinks group C&C increased 4pc to €4.32, while packaging giant Smurfit Kappa rose 2.9pc to €17.90.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included AIB, which slid 5.1pc to nine cent, while fruit company Fyffe's fell 1.9pc to 80 cent.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 rose 0.5pc to 322.37, its highest level since May 22, 2008.

National benchmark indices rose in 11 of the 18 western European markets.

Germany's DAX advanced 0.3pc to a record, and France's CAC 40 gained 0.6pc. The UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.7pc.

But the euro fell against most of its 16 major peers, as data showed unemployment in the euro area climbed to a record 12.2pc.

The yen pared its first gain in five days versus the dollar as a US business barometer unexpectedly jumped. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Colm Kelpie

Irish Independent

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