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Markets stronger across the board at end of volatile week

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Markets were stronger across the board on Friday at the end of a volatile week for equities. Global stocks were set for their best week in six years as strong corporate earnings offset concerns about rising inflation and interest rates, while the US dollar edged higher from a three-year low against major currencies.

Dublin
The Iseq index ended the session 55 points higher at 6,833, just under 1 per cent stronger over the day. Financial stocks performed well over the day. Bank of Ireland ended the session up 0.7 per cent at €7.7850, while Permanent TSB was also stronger, gaining 1.86 per cent to €2.20. The latter has put up to €4 billion of non-performing mortgages up for sale under its Project Glas portfolio – about a fifth of its current loan book.

AIB was an exception, showing some weakness to end the day’s trading 2.45 per cent lower at €5.365.

Elsewhere, CRH ended the session flat at €28.06 but had earlier gained as much as 1.4 per cent to trade at €28.44.

Ryanair meanwhile was up almost 3 per cent at €16.77. The company said on Thursday it would add two new routes between Shannon and the UK, with services to Bristol and Liverpool, and increased the frequency of its Manchester service from the airport to six days a week.

London
The UK’s top share index closed higher on Friday and recorded its first positive week since the middle of January. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.83 per cent at 7,294.95 points, its highest level in one week. Mid caps rose 0.7 per cent.

Shares in financials and consumer staples, a sector which typically pays high dividends, added the most points to the index.

Among individual risers, Segro gained 6.5 per cent after the property group beat consensus expectations in its results for 2017.

Standard Life Aberdeen recovered some of yesterday’s losses, closing up 1.2 per cent on the back of an upgrade from broker Bernstein to “overweight”. The insurer and asset manager’s shares dropped 7.5 per cent on Thursday after its biggest client, Lloyds, served notice it would terminate its asset management mandate with the firm.

Bernstein analysts, however, said that the weakness in Standard Life Aberdeen’s shares, which are down nearly 16.5 per cent this year, was an “attractive opportunity”.

Europe
Across Europe, stocks gained as the week came to an end. Germany’s Dax was 0.9 per cent higher and the Cac 40 in France rose to finish the session 1.1 per cent higher.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “The 100 and Cac 40 managed to print levels not seen in over a week, which underlines the rise in market confidence.

“Some traders are cautious … while others are picking up relatively cheap stocks.”

On the currency markets, sterling was down 0.3 per cent against the US dollar at 1.40 following a lacklustre update from the UK retail sector.

New York
US stocks rose for a sixth straight session on Friday, putting the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on course for their best week in more than six years, strengthening Wall Street’s pullback after a brutal sell-off earlier this month.

The fightback by the stock market has been led by technology stocks, as they have led the rally over the past year. The sector was up 0.62 per cent by Friday afternoon, with Apple , Microsoft and Alphabet leading.

At lunchtime in the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.31 per cent at 25,278.45 and the S&P 500 rose 0.38 per cent to 2,741.69. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.22 per cent to 7,272.08.

The S&P and the Nasdaq was set for their best week since December 2011, while the Dow was on track for its best week since November 2016.

Coca-Cola rose more than 1 percent after the company reported better-than-expected profit and sales as it sold more teas, coffees and vitamin water.

Among the big decliners was Kraft Heinz, which dropped 3.7 per cent after the company’s quarterly profit and sales missed analysts’ estimates.

– Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg, PA

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