European shares ride high on strong economic growth

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European shares hit their highest level in more than two years on Monday as confidence over global economic growth and mergers and acquisitions continued to boost investor appetite for stocks.

In the US, the S&P 500 and the Dow struggled to edge higher, stalling the strong rally that marked the start of 2018, pressured by losses in healthcare and bank stocks.

DUBLIN Paddy Power Betfair fell by almost 0.7 per cent on chief executive Peter Jackson’s first day in the job. Morgan Stanley wrote to clients to say there were several “major strategic issues” facing him, including regulatory change in Australia.
Aminex fell 2.6 per cent following atrading update on Monday morning, in which it announced that discussions are underway with the Tanzanian government over the management and drilling of a well.

Independent News and Media fell by more than 2 per cent, as investors await the return to the High Court this month of an application by the State’s corporate watchdog to view documents held by INM’s chairman, as part of a corporate governance investigation into the company.

LONDON London’s blue-chip index ended the day down 0.36 per cent , edging down from the record close it set on Friday.
It was knocked as Micro Focus plummeted close to 17 per cent, leading the losers following its half-year results, which missed some analyst expectations.

The British firm that bought Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s software assets in an $8.8 billion deal said its revenue would fall 2-4 per cent after a disappointing sales performance in recent months.

Shire shares were also among the worst performers, down 210p, after a strategic review resulted in the pharmaceuticals giant announcing that it would create two separate business divisions to cover rare diseases and neuroscience respectively.

G4S was at the top of the FTSE 100 – up 11.1p at 286.3p – after UBS raised its price target for the security firm’s shares to 310p from 300p and upgraded it to “buy” from “neutral”.

Shares in Mothercare plunged more than 27 per cent or 17.05p to 44.95p as the baby-goods retailer warned over profits after an unscheduled trading update revealed that UK like-for-like sales plummeted 7.2 per cent in the 12 weeks to December 30th, while online sales tumbled 6.9 per cent.

EUROPE Belgian biotech group
Ablynx soared after the company rejected a €2.6 billion bid from Danish drugmaker
Novo Nordisk. It closed up 45.3 per cent, just above Novo Nordisk’s offer price of €30.5 per share.
That level suggests Ablynx investors are ready to pay a light premium in the hope of a higher rival bid or a sweetened offer by Novo.

The auto sector signed off a positive session up nearly 1 per cent. Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler rose about 1 per cent after a note from Morgan Stanley highlighted the potential of a spin-off of its Jeep brand.

Elsewhere in the sector, France’s Renault climbed 1.5 per cent, while Germany’s BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen rose between 0.3 and 1.3 per cent.

Caterpillar climbed more than 2 per cent to hit a record at $165.55, after JP Morgan upgraded the stock saying the tax overhaul could help North America’s construction business cycle extend in 2018.
Kohl’s Corp jumped as much as 8.7 per cent after the department store operator posted far stronger same-store sales for the holidays than its bigger peers. Amazon edged up 1.23 per cent after Credit Suisse hiked its price target on the online retailer’s stock.

Nvidia jumped about 4 per cent after the graphics chipmaker announced partnerships with Uber and Volkswagen as its artificial intelligence platforms expand into technology for self-driving cars.

GoPro shares plunged 33 per cent to hit a record low at $5.04 after the company said it expected lower fourth-quarter revenue and that it would exit the drone business. (Additional reporting: Reuters/PA)

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