Monday 16 July 2018

Weaker euro helps buoy European stocks

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York

Reuters

European shares ended on a high yesterday, buoyed by a weaker euro on the back of cautious comments from ECB President Mario Draghi on inflation, while M&A news sparked some sizeable stock moves.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 1.1pc at its close.

Although the ECB dropped its pledge to increase its bond buying if needed, comments by President Mario Draghi that policy would remain "reactive" and that measures of underlying inflation were still subdued weighed on the euro, which in turn benefited Europe's exporter stocks.

"Depending on how long the ECB continues to hover around the exit without going through, the euro may have to soften further," Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, said.

"In turn, that could open up further breathing space for European shares."

Merger and acquisition news drove big stock moves once again. Spanish construction firm ACS rose 8.7pc after reports it was in talks with Italy's Atlantia to break up Abertis in an effort to avoid a bidding war for the highway concessions company.

Atlantia, which confirmed preliminary talks with ACS over Abertis, gained 5.1pc, while Abertis fell 4pc. Shares in Hochtief, which had also bid for Abertis, rose 7.3pc.

In Dublin the ISEQ was up 0.25pc at 6,753.49.

Elsewhere, the US healthcare sector was rattled as health insurer Cigna Corp said it would buy pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co for about $54bn. Express Scripts shares jumped 10.9pc while Cigna dropped 9.7pc.

Oil fell, following a sharp rise in the dollar, steering prices towards a second weekly decline.

Irish Independent

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