Sunday 18 March 2018

European stocks join rally as Dow Jones breaks 20,000

A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the 20,000 mark following the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the 20,000 mark following the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

European stocks joined a global equities rally yesterday, as investors bet on stronger growth prospects for the region.

By early afternoon, the ISEQ Overall Index was up 1pc or 65.35 points to 6,577.06.

The leaders on the Dublin index included insurance group FBD, which increased 1.3pc to €7.75, while packaging giant Smurfit Kappa was up 1.2pc to €25.40.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included insulation group Kingspan, which slipped 0.5pc to €27.59, while drinks group C&C was down 0.5pc by early afternoon.

Elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded above 20,000 for the first time yesterday, resuming a rally that began in the wake of US President Donald Trump's surprise election victory.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.7pc in the morning in London, the most in more than a week.

Miners extended Tuesday's rally and banks rose as bond yields climbed.

The benchmark gauge added 0.3pc as of closing on Tuesday, with its sub-index of basic resources climbing to the highest level since 2014, while the sector's US peers hit a record high.

A rally in European shares had lost momentum this month. After boosting equities, following Donald Trump's election as US president on bets of faster economic growth, investors have been unwinding some of those positions in recent sessions as he emphasised protectionist policies.

Spanish banks were among the biggest gainers on the Stoxx 600 yesterday after Banco Santander's fourth-quarter results beat estimates.

Logitech International was the biggest outperformer among European shares, climbing 17pc, after its third-quarter sales beat the highest analyst estimates.

Britain's WH Smith rose more than 7pc after saying it expected full-year profit growth to be slightly ahead of expectations as it posted strong sales in its travel business over the Christmas period.

BT Group shares were down 0.5pc, after losing a fifth of their value in the previous session following a cut to its financial forecasts.

Meanwhile, sterling's role as a global reserve currency is declining Deutsche Bank said, predicting the pound would be less widely used as Britain leaves the European Union and that China has drastically cut its holdings.

Britain needs sterling to hold onto its reserve status because, with one of the biggest current account deficits in the world, it takes hundreds of billions of pounds of capital inflows each year just to balance its books.

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