London’s FTSE 100 reaches fresh record high while French stocks come close to one

European shares ended higher on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 in London reaching a fresh record high and France’s Cac 40 coming close to one.

Gains in luxury firms pushed France’s blue-chip index higher, offsetting concerns that strong US data would pave the way for further monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve.

A rebound in US retail sales in January, coming on the heels of mixed inflation data from the country, exacerbated fears that the Fed was not close to ending its cycle of interest rate hikes, which hammered equities last year.


The Iseq rose 1.5 per cent as index heavyweight CRH advanced 2.6 per cent to €44.86 and Ryanair was buoyed by positive sentiment towards travel stocks, rising 0.6 per cent to €15.16.

There were also gains for bookmaking company Flutter Entertainment, which rose 2 per cent to €147.95 a day after it said it would consult shareholders on a listing in the US, and food group Kerry, which added 3.4 per cent to finish at €88.00.

But on a weaker day for banks, Bank of Ireland slipped almost 1 per cent to just below 96 cent, while packaging group Smurfit Kappa closed at €36.65, down 0.3 per cent.


The FTSE 100 briefly cleared 8,000 points for the first time, helped by a drop in the pound after data showed domestic inflation eased more than expected.

The export-oriented FTSE 100 closed 0.6 per cent higher at 7,997.83 points, after hitting 8,003.65 earlier in the session.

The pound fell after data showed British consumer price inflation (CPI) fell more than expected in January and there were also drops in underlying measures of inflation that are being closely watched by the Bank of England.

The more domestically-focused FTSE 250 midcap ended the session 0.8 per cent higher.

A laggard was British lender Barclays, which plunged 7.9 per cent after announcing a slump in full-year profit. The FTSE 350 banking index fell 1.2 per cent.

Glencore announced a payout of $7.1 billion to its investors as the metal miner posted a record annual profit. However, its shares fell 1.6 per cent against weaker copper and aluminium prices and as the company warned that rising costs of producing minerals could dent future earnings.


The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 0.4 per cent higher, with a 1.5 per cent jump in Paris-listed luxury firm LVMH among the biggest boosts.

The French group’s top label Louis Vuitton said on Tuesday it has hired Pharrell Williams to head artistic direction of its menswear designs, with analysts optimistic about the decision.

France’s Cac 40 index rose 1.2 per cent to 7,300.86, coming within a whisker of its all-time high of 7,384.86 hit in January last year.

Europe’s largest food retailer Carrefour jumped 8.5 per cent to the top of the blue-chip index on a higher than expected share buyback plan.

Also boosting the Cac was a 3 per cent rise in shares of Gucci owner Kering, with investor focus on the impact from China’s reopening overshadowing a slump in quarterly revenue.

Industrials were a big boost to the STOXX 600, boosted by gains in Airbus and German engineering firm Siemens.

Heineken rose 2.8 per cent on higher-than-expected profit in 2022.


Wall Street’s main stock indexes fell in early trading after stronger-than-expected retail sales data offered more evidence of resilience in the US economy, reigniting concern that the Fed could stick to its rate-hike campaign.

US-listed shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing fell 6.4 per cent after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway slashed its stake in the chipmaker.

Shares of Airbnb and Tripadvisor rose 12.2 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively, after the companies posted forecast-beating results due to strong travel demand.

Additional reporting: Reuters


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