European stocks hit an all-time high on Friday, supported by hopes that major central banks will remain accommodative despite signs of rising inflation, while a rally by miners boosted UK stocks.
U.S. stock indices stagnated as attention turned to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.
The Iseq in Dublin rose almost 0.5 percent. The index was weighed down by the performance of the two mainstay banks, which suffered from falling government bond yields, fearing that the ECB would continue its quantitative easing despite rising inflation.
Bank of Ireland ended the session down 1.58% to close at € 5.09, while AIB fell 1.65% to € 2.56 per share.
Travel-related stocks have performed well despite growing uncertainty over summer bookings and doubts that the UK will fully reopen as planned this month. Ryanair rose 1.2 percent to € 16.59, as rival Aer Lingus cut some summer routes. Meanwhile, the ferry operator Irish Continental Group was up nearly 2.2 percent to € 4.70.
UK markets ended the week strong as the FTSE 100 floated to a month high after traders welcomed evidence that the UK economy rebounded in April.
It closed up 45.88 points, or 0.65%, at 7,134.06.
Asset manager listed on FTSE 250 Sanne was among the top performers of the day after saying Cinven filed a £ 1.4 billion takeover bid. As a result, the company’s shares jumped from 68p to 840p by the end of the game.
Naked Wines has slipped as it has posted increasing losses over the past year despite sales being supercharged by the pandemic. The retailer said its losses for the year through March had nearly doubled to £ 10.7million despite a 68% increase in revenue for the period. It closed down 78p to 715p.
Biotechnology company Avacta saw stocks rally after announcing to investors that its lateral flow test had been registered for use in the EU. Shares rose 40p to 259p after investors welcomed the news, which came days after UK regulators approved the test.
The German Dax rose 0.78% and the French Cac rose 0.83%. The reopening of optimism has pushed European stock markets to record highs, with investors turning to cyclical sectors such as commodities, industrials and banks which tend to benefit from an economic recovery.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7% in its sixth straight session of gains and ended the week up 1.1%, its best weekly performance since early May.
Travel and leisure stocks rebounded from the decline in the previous session. Spanish hotel chain Melia rose 2.0% after its chief executive forecast a return to profitability in June after 15 months in the red.
French reinsurer Scor jumped 8.4% after main shareholder Covea agreed to an orderly exit from the company following a settlement following a frustrated takeover attempt and ensuing legal disputes.
The ECB on Thursday raised its growth and inflation projections for the eurozone, but promised a steady stream of stimulus measures over the summer. Eurozone government bond yields fell after the decision, weighing on bank stocks. An index of block lenders fell 0.2%.
The tech and growth sectors advanced after inflation data allayed fears of a long-term surge in consumer prices. The S&P 500 traded just below a record high of 4,249.74, with tech-heavy stocks providing the biggest boost.
Healthcare stocks fell 1.1% and were among the worst performing S&P sectors amid mounting criticism of the controversial US Food and Drug Administration approval of an Alzheimer’s drug developed by Biogen Inc
Cruise lines have also fallen, with Royal Caribbean Group losing 0.4% after two guests from its Celebrity Millennium ship tested positive for Covid-19. – (Additional reports: Reuters / PA)