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Syria relief rally helps European shares edge higher

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Ireland’s benchmark Iseq overall index outperformed wider European markets on Thursday, rising 0.95 per cent.

European shares rose alongside a relief rally across global markets after US president Trump signalled that military strikes in Syria may not be imminent.

However, the signals weren’t sufficient for UK investors and Britain’s FTSE 100 remained flat on the day.

Dublin
Chatter surrounding a potential takeover of Norwegian Air by Aer Lingus owner IAG gave European airlines a lift on Thursday. Budget airline Ryanair increased 1.64 per cent on the Iseq to €16.09.

Momentum in the banks has been strong following remarks from European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny earlier in the week. He said he would have no problem moving the deposit rate from -0.4 per cent to -0.2 per cent. As a result, both AIB and Bank of Ireland moved up on the day. Shares in AIB increased 3.79 per cent to €5.15 while Bank of Ireland edged up 1.91 per cent to €7.48.

It was a mixed day for property plays on the Irish market with some homebuilders and real estate investment trusts edging up while others lost out. Among the losers were Glenveagh Properties, dropping 1.23 per cent to €1.124, and Green Reit, falling 0.27 per cent to €1.49. Meanwhile, Cairn Homes pushed up 0.57 per cent to €1.76 on the day while Hibernia Reit closed higher by 1.7 per cent at €1.436.

While Glenveagh was the loser on the Iseq 20, it was Independent News and Media that fell the most on the wider Iseq overall index. The newspaper group fell 5.88 per cent to €0.08.

London
Britain’s leading stock index ended the day up 0.02 per cent.

Shares in British Airways owner IAG fell 1.1 per cent after the airline said it was considering making an offer for low-cost carrier Norwegian. Norwegian’s shares, which are the most-shorted among European airlines, rose 47 per cent on the bid news.

Among mid-caps, shares in British bus and rail operator FirstGroup rose 8.2 per cent after a takeover offer from US private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Shares in retailer Dunelm rose 8.8 per cent after it reported a jump in third-quarter online sales which boosted revenue growth. At the other end of the spectrum small-cap Carpetright’s shares sank 9.4 per cent after the flooring retailer said it planned to close 92 stores and reduce rents at 113 of its sites in a restructuring effort.

Europe
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 0.7 per cent after a negative start as sentiment improved during the day.

Shares in Sulzer rallied 19.5 per cent after the Swiss pumpmaker said it freed itself of US sanctions after authorities approved its buyback of shares that has reduced to less than 50 per cent the stake of Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of holding company Renova.

Micro Focus surged 7.5 per cent as traders cited a Bloomberg report that hedge fund Elliott Management had taken a stake in the UK software firm.

Playtech rose 5.7 per cent after it agreed to buy Italian betting firm Snaitech in a $1 billion deal.

Shire rose 2.6 per cent after sources told Reuters Takeda had sounded out creditors for loans to help finance a possible bid for the British rare disease specialist.

New York
Boeing’s 1.8 per cent gain was the biggest boost to the Dow, while Microsoft’s gain and JPMorgan’s jump helped lift the S&P 500.

The earnings season began with BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, reporting quarterly profit above Wall Street estimates. Its shares rose 2.3 per cent.

Delta Air Lines jumped after the US carrier reported a rise in quarterly revenue, boosted by higher average fares and passenger traffic.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares dived more than 18 per cent after the company’s full-year profit forecast missed estimates.

– Additional reporting, Reuters

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