European shares up for third straight day
European shares climbed for a third consecutive session on Thursday, with some major companies - such as France's second-biggest listed bank Société Générale and oil major Total - advancing after their results.
Shares in Société Générale rose 2pc after the bank reported better than expected net income in the final three months of last year and said it would float a stake in ALD, its booming vehicle-leasing unit.
France's Total gained 0.8pc after the company also reported better than expected fourth-quarter net profits, thanks to cost savings that enabled it to raise its dividend, and said it was hunting opportunities to buy assets from struggling rivals.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said that there was a strong value case for European equities relative to the United States. However, the value case was conditional on the earnings cycle in Europe turning to relative profit growth and the impact of political and sovereign risks.
"So far, the signs are positive. Earnings in Europe are now rising relative to the US and we expect double-digit EPS growth in 2017," Bank of America ML analysts said in a note.
Commerzbank fell 3pc after the German lender said it needed to do more to get back to sustainable growth. Germany's second-largest lender behind Deutsche Bank, however, beat quarterly profit forecasts.
The Iseq overall index of Irish shares closed up 1.03pc, or 66.3 points at 6477.16.
Amryt Pharma shares had the biggest bounce of the day as investors reacted positively to news that the company has secured a Japanese patent to develop a drug for a rare skin condition. Amryt stocks were up by 15pc at the close.
Housebuilder Abbey gained 4.8pc while Ryanair shares recovered 3.3pc, having fallen back earlier in the week.
Fuel retailer Applegreen was the day's big loser, with losses of 3.1pc.