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European shares hit record high on drop in new coronavirus cases

European shares notched a fresh record high on Wednesday, as a decline in the number of new coronavirus cases and hopes of more stimulus from Beijing helped a recovery from fears of a sustained hit to global supply and demand.


Glanbia, which is due to publish full-year results next week, was one of the big gainers in Dublin with its share price rising by just under 4 per cent to €10.55.

Kingspan also performed strongly, up 2.6 per cent to €62.85 after hitting an all-time high of €63 earlier in the day. It has numbers out on Friday.

Kerry Group, which got a good bounce on Tuesday on the back of its latest results, retained those gains on Wednesday, closing up 3.3 per cent to €125.6.

Banks remained weak amid political uncertainty following the general election with AIB down 2 per cent to €2.25 and Bank of Ireland flat at €4.

Smurfit Kappa was relatively flat on the day until a late rally that saw shares climb 2 per cent higher to €34.04.


The FTSE 100 rebounded in tandem with global markets on Wednesday as housebuilders advanced after HSBC upgraded its view on the stocks ahead of a first batch of results next week, while the number of new coronavirus cases in China fell.

The blue-chip index added 1 per cent, with a sub-index of housebuilders hitting a record high. The FTSE 250 gained 0.8 per cent, helped by a 13 per cent surge in Hochschild Mining after it reported 2019 results and targets for 2020.

Berkeley was the most notable gainer on the blue-chip index as it rose 2.2 per cent to an all-time high. Fellow housebuilders BarrattTaylor Wimpey and Persimmon also rose between 1 per cent and 1.9 per cent.

Man Group jumped 9.1 per cent, which according to traders was due to a rating upgrade from Exane. In contrast, price comparison website Moneysupermarket. com dipped 2.2 per cent after saying its top boss would step down.


A broad-based rally saw the pan-European STOXX 600 index end up 0.8 per cent, led by chipmakers that were hit last session by a revenue warning from iPhone-maker Apple due the Covid-19 outbreak. Dialog SemiconductorSTMicroelectronics and AMS, were among the top performers on the day.

Puma’s strong fourth quarter saw it top the STOXX 600, despite the warning, and pull up Adidas. Other luxury stocks also rallied, with LVMH and Gucci-owner Kering rose 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

Italian tyremaker Pirelli rose 3.3 per cent after it said it will focus on its premium products and cost-cutting measures to drive a gradual increase in core profit margins over the next two years.

Wall Street

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit all-time highs on Wednesday as hopes that China would take more measures to prop up its economy eased worries about the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

Technology stocks, which are sensitive to news related to China’s growth, gained 1.1 per cent, the most among major S&P sectors. Defensive real estate and utilities were in the red. Apple rose 1.6 per cent, recouping most of the ground lost in the previous session on a surprise sales warning that highlighted concerns about global supply chains. Also helping the technology sector was a 4.7 per cent gain in Nvidia after Bernstein raised its rating on the chipmaker’s shares.

Among other stocks, Garmin jumped 8 per cent after the wearable fitness devices maker forecast full-year revenue above analysts’ estimates. – Additional reporting: Reuters

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