European values advance but investors eye inflation data for signals from ECB on rate hikes

European shares rose on Friday on upbeat results from luxury major Richemont and gains in energy stocks, while investors assessed inflation data from France and Spain for signals about the European Central Bank’s plans on interest rate hikes.


The Irish index of shares was broadly flat on Friday, with banking stocks regaining some ground and construction stocks turning softer. AIB was more than 2 per cent higher to close at €3.88, while Bank of Ireland was up 1 per cent to end the day at €8.99. Insurer FBD continued to gain ground for a second day, closing at €13 a day after it said gross written premiums had risen this year.

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Shares in insulation specialist Kingspan rose 1.1 per cent to €62.94 by the end of the session, after earlier hitting a high of €63.46.

Shares in CRH were slightly off, ending the session at €45.16, while Ryanair was broadly flat. Elsewhere, Smurfit Kappa lost 1.75 per cent, while Kerry Group was down more than half a per cent.


Britain’s FTSE 100 index closed higher on Friday, with healthcare and energy stocks leading as oil prices rebounded and drugmaker GSK jumped, while data showed the British economy grew slightly in the first quarter of the year.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.3 per cent, snapping a three-day losing streak.

GSK added 1.8 per cent after the drugmaker said a Canadian provincial Supreme Court dismissed a proposed class action against heartburn drug Zantac over increased cancer risk.

British banks recovered from Thursday’s losses, gaining 0.5 per cent a day after the country’s central bank lifted borrowing costs. Morgan Stanley and Bank of America raised their terminal rate forecasts, with both now expecting one more interest hike from the Bank of England next month.


The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed the day 0.4 per cent higher. Richemont jumped 3.5 per cent , after touching a record high in early trade, as the luxury goods group beat expectations after strong demand from Chinese consumers for jewellery and watches boosted net profit and sales in the 12 months through March.

Among other major movers, energy stocks including Shell and BP, were among the top gainers tracking rising oil prices.

Scor soared 9.4 per cent to top the Stoxx 600 after the French reinsurance company posted nearly double the first-quarter net income expected by markets.

French bank Societe Generale gained 1.2 per cent after posting better-than-expected quarterly earnings as turmoil in bond and currency markets boosted its trading business.

On the contrary, troubled Swedish real estate group SBB, whose shares have plunged recently on debt concerns, slid 8.8 per cent after selling most of its shares in construction company JM.


Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Friday as US consumer sentiment slumped to a six-month low, indicating that rapid interest rate hikes were starting to hurt economic growth.

The indexes rose at the opening bell on gains in Tesla following news that top boss Elon Musk had found a new chief executive for Twitter. But they soon reversed gains to fall 2.3 per cent. Mr Musk later announced that NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino would be Twitter chief.

The KBW Regional Banking index looked set to extend declines for a fifth straight session, trading about 1 per cent lower on concerns over the sector’s health following the collapse of three regional lenders.

In early trading the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.39 per cent at 33,178.11, the S&P 500 was down 21.64 points at 4,108.98 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.67 per cent at 12,245.45.

News Corp gained 5.9 per cent after the media conglomerate beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit.

Netflix plans to cut its spending by $300 million this year according to a report. Its shares were down 1.5 per cent.
— Additional reporting: Reuters


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