Thursday 17 January 2019

European shares surge on China talks

Markets Report

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

European shares traded significantly higher yesterday and were set for a second day of gains, as sentiment toward the Sino-US trade dispute lifted after US President Donald Trump sounded upbeat about a deal in a Reuters interview.

Surges on European bourses came even as UK Prime Minister Theresa May faced a confidence vote with the inherent threat of an even more chaotic Brexit.

But investors bet that she would survive the vote, lifting the pound and the Ftse-100.

Should she win the day, her authority would be reasserted and reduce the chance of a no-deal Brexit.

Nomura analyst Jordan Rochester said he expected a victory by Mrs May that would probably benefit sterling.

Amid the general upbeat mood, trading updates from retailers weighed on the overall sector.

"It looks like another shocker of a day for UK retail as Inditex, Superdry and Dixons Carphone shares have slumped sharply in opening trade," wrote Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

A profit warning for British fashion retailer Superdry saw its shares slump 35pc.

Also in Britain, Dixons Carphone, the electricals and mobile phone retailer, fell as much as 10pc after reporting a statutory first-half pretax loss of £440m (€990m) after booking £490m of exceptional charges, mainly related to goodwill.

In Ireland, the Iseq Overall Index gained, but its advance was more muted compared to that made by its European peers.

Just before the bell, it was 0.8pc higher at 5,537.

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa was among the biggest gainers, rising 5.6pc soon before the session ended, to €23.16. Hotel group Dalata was 5.4pc higher at €4.55. Homebuilders were in the red, with Glenveagh Properties having shed 3.2pc to 77 cent before the session ended. Cairn Homes was down 2.3pc at €1.17.

The UK's Ftse-100 was 1.3pc higher just minutes before trading closed. Germany's DAX was up 1.6pc and France's CAC-40 had advanced 2.4pc. French drinks giant Pernod Ricard, which owns Jameson, rose 6pc after it emerged that activist hedge fund Elliott Management took a stake in the firm.

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