Healthcare and technology companies led gains in European equities on Friday as the euro slipped amid mounting concern about the region’s economic outlook.
Financial stocks recovered some earlier losses incurred after disappointing earnings reports from BNP Paribas, Société Générale and HSBC.
Wall Street was led by gains for Apple after Berkshire Hathaway, the company owned by Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, increased its stake in the technology stock.
The Iseq index rose 1 per cent ahead of May Bank Holiday. Paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa added 0.5 per cent to €35.36 after a trading update in which it said its full-year earnings would be “materially better” than the previous year, and reiterated its intentions to remain an independent business despite advances from International Paper.
Ryanair added 1.7 per cent to €15.90 on a day in which Aer Lingus owner IAG announced bumper profits, while cement-maker CRH rose 0.85 per cent to €29.51. Also among the risers food group Kerry was 2.7 per cent up at €88.90, Cairn Homes finished the session 1.9 per cent higher at €1.83, and Dalata Hotel Group was 1.2 per cent up at €6.63.
Bank of Ireland slid 0.9 per cent to €7.12 on a weak day for financial stocks across Europe.
The FTSE 100 was lifted by strong results from airline group IAG, while HSBC joined French banks in reporting lower profit. A weak pound, which gives an accounting boost to companies whose earnings are in dollars, also helped Britain’s FTSE 100 to close up 0.86 per cent on the day.
IAG was up 5.8 per cent and near a four-month high after a 75 per cent jump in quarterly profit. However, it gave no update on potential takeover of low-cost competitor Norwegian Air. Rival airline EasyJet also rose 1.7 per cent, with Wizz Air up 3.3 per cent on the mid-cap index.
HSBC was the standout FTSE laggard, falling about 1 per cent after investors were disappointed by an unexpected 4 per cent drop in first-quarter pre-tax profit, which overshadowed a share buyback by the bank.
Education publisher Pearson rose 7.6 per cent after the firm said it was on track to return to profit growth this year.
Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell cemented the FTSE’s gains as oil prices held near recent highs.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.6 per cent, as the Dax in Germany closed up 1 per cent and the Cac 40 in France edged 0.3 per cent higher in the final session of the week.
French banks BNP Paribas and Société Générale missed out on the trading gains that boosted earnings at some of their US and European rivals in the first quarter, sending their shares tumbling.
Shares in BNP Paribas fell as much as 3.5 per cent in Paris, but closed down a more modest 1.2 per cent, while SocGen tumbled as much as 7.4 per cent – the most in two years – but closed down 5.2 per cent.
Turkey’s lira continued its descent on Friday, hitting a record low against the dollar amid concern that monetary policy remains too loose to deal with an overheating economy.
Apple led a rally on Wall Street on Friday morning, with the tech stock jumping 3.8 per cent to a record high of $183.65 after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway raised its stake in the iPhone maker.
The technology sector was up 1.47 per cent, giving the biggest boost to the S&P 500. The markets had been off to a choppy start after data showed the US economy added 164,000 jobs in April, but missed expectations, while the unemployment rate dropped to near a 17½-year low of 3.9 per cent. – Additional reporting: Reuters/BloombergTags: apple, Bank of Ireland, Berkshire Hathaway, BNP-Paribas, British Airways, Business, CRH, Dalata Hotel Group, EasyJet, France, HSBC, Iag, International Paper, Kerry, Market News, Markets, Norwegian Air, Pearson, Royal Dutch Shell, Ryanair, Smurfit Kappa, Societe Generale, Turkey