World stock markets rose yesterday on encouraging signs of progress in developing a Covid-19 vaccine, while several multibillion-dollar deals also helped lift the spirit of investors after last week’s downdraft.
The Iseq all-share index gained 0.48 per cent. While there were no standout gainers or losers, Ryanair closed 1.68 per cent higher at €12.11.
Banks traded marginally lower, with Bank of Ireland leading the downward charge. The bank slipped 0.71 per cent to €1.81 while AIB dropped 0.29 per cent to €1.01.
Cairn Homes was amongst gainers, rising 2.11 per cent to €0.77. Fellow housebuilder Glenveagh Properties gained 1.4 per cent to close at €0.73. Residential landlord Ires Reit rose 1.76 per cent to €1.38.
Greencoat Renewables shed 1.68 per cent to close at €1.17. The company said total income and gains were €21.8 million for the six months to the end of June, up from €20.2 million, while operating profit was €16.6 million, down slightly from €16.8 million.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 shed 0.1 per cent, with oil and gas major BP weighing the most after it forecast declining fossil fuel demand due to climate policies and the pandemic.
The mid-cap index added 0.7 per cent, with G4S surging to a near seven-month high after it rejected a £2.95 billion offer from Canadian security firm GardaWorld, saying it was “highly opportunistic”.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca fell slightly, despite resuming clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, which is one of the most advanced in development.
Recruiting company SThree rose 1.4 per cent as it said its underlying sequential performance had been improving since the first half of the year.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.2 per cent higher after rising as much as 0.8 per cent earlier in the session. Much of those gains were lost as oil majors Total and Royal Dutch Shell dropped after major industry figures said damage to the global economy from the coronavirus pandemic will hollow out demand for oil more than previously thought. Battered travel and leisure stocks led the gains in Europe, with Aer Lingus-owner IAG jumping 4.4 per cent, and easyJet and Lufthansa rising nearly 2 per cent.
Exchange operators were caught in a bidding war, with France’s Euronext and Deutsche Boerse down 2.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent after sources said Switzerland’s Six made the highest bid in the battle for Borsa Italiana.
US stocks ended higher as signs of progress in developing a Covid-19 vaccine and a raft of multibillion-dollar deals lifted investor optimism. Gains were broad-based, with all of the S&P 500 sectors ending in positive territory and real estate and technology leading gains.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca resumed its British clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development. Also, Pfizer rose 2.6 per cent after the drugmaker and German biotech firm BioNTech SE proposed to expand their phase-three vaccine trial to about 44,000 participants.
“The market loves anything with a vaccine because that is the ultimate solution here. And we’ll see more and more headlines,” on that going forward, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.
Merger-related news also lifted the market, and tech shares performed well but value-related sectors did as well, he said. That suggests investors may continue buy into value.
The Dow rose 327.69 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 27,993.33, the S&P 500 gained 42.57 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 3,383.54 and the Nasdaq added 203.11 points, or 1.87 per cent, to 11,056.65. – Additional reporting: Reuters