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Royal Dutch Shell helps European shares edge upwards

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European shares edged up on Tuesday, aided by a strong performance from Royal Dutch Shell, which boosted oil and gas stocks, while the Irish focus was on Dublin-based UDG Healthcare, which reported full-year results.

DUBLIN
The Irish market lagged most European peers with traders noting that volumes were light for the most part on Tuesday.

Home lender Permanent TSB advanced 2.32 per cent to €2.159 on what dealers said was thin trading. There was no particular reason behind the move.

Gambling giant Paddy Power Betfair ended the day down 1.05 per cent at €97.37, also on light volumes.

AIB added 0.87 per cent to €5.245. The bank is due to join the MSCI Standard index this week, and has been attracting interest on the back of that.

Dealers said that trade in that stock was more active than in Bank of Ireland, which inched up 0.57 per cent to €6.386.

Traders remarked that while the financials attracted some business, “there was nothing shooting the lights out”.

LONDON
Irish-based, London-listed drug distributor, UDG Healthcare, fell 3.02 per cent to close at 835 pence sterling, despite reporting 17 per cent growth in profit before tax to $119 million in the 12 months ended September 30th. The group also announced that chief financial officer Alan Ralph would retire by the end of 2018.

Another Irish company with a London listing, convenience foods specialist, Greencore, climbed 2.55 per cent to 196.8p after issuing a trading statement that dealers described as “solid”.

On-line retailer Ocado was amongst the best performers surging more than 20 per cent after it announced a long-awaited international partnership, signing a deal with French supermarket giant Groupe Casino.

Ocado said the deal will see it construct an automated warehouse, or customer fulfilment centre, that will serve the Greater Paris area, as well as the Normandie and Hauts de France regions. Groupe Casino will pay Ocado upfront. Shares were up 53.4p to 309.6p.

EUROPE
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell gained 3.4 per cent to close at €26.86 in Amsterdam after saying that it would restore its cash dividend and scrap a programme under which it offered investors discounted shares instead of the payment. The company is forecasting stronger cash flows on the back of improved crude prices.

Danish food ingredients maker CHR Hansen fell 2.87 per cent to 559 kroner after its chief executive, Cees de Jong, announced that he would step down to work as an independent director outside the company.

Spanish and Danish wind turbine makers Siemens Gamesa and Vestas Wind rose 10.2 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively, with traders citing India’s plan to award 100 gigawatts of solar and wind contracts by March 2020.

Among consumer goods stocks, Unilever advanced by 2.3 percent after saying a single corporate structure was in its best interests, though it has yet to make a choice between its British and Dutch bases. Peers Nestle and Reckitt Benckiser also rose.

Danish jewellery company Pandora jumped 6.3 percent after US hedge fund Maverick Capital lowered its short position on the stock.

Among leading fallers, telecoms and cable group Altice continued its downward spiral with a 3.3 percent decline, bringing its total slide for November to more than 55 percent.

US
Wall Street indexes hovered near record levels as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve chair nominee Jerome Powell and shrugged off concerns over progress of the US tax bill. Data pointing to better-than-expected consumer confidence also helped lift sentiment.

JPMorgan was up 1.4 per cent and Bank of America rose 1.3 per cent. Real estate was the only laggard among the 11 major S&P sectors, falling 0.6 percent. Emerson Electric’s shares were up 2.42 percent after the company withdrew its offer for Rockwell Automation.

Buffalo Wild Wings jumped 6.4 per cent to $155.75 as Roark Capital Group, owner of restaurant chain Arby’s, said it would buy the company for about $2.4 billion.

(Additional reporting: Reuters)

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