Markets

Stocks rise on world markets as Korean tensions ease

European stocks rose, following most Asian equities, as tensions surrounding North Korea eased. The yen dropped as demand for safe-haven assets began to fade, although gold and the Swiss franc held Tuesday’s gains.

The euro weakened as data showed German inflation accelerating.

Dublin

The Iseq index closed up 0.55 per cent, pulled upwards by a 1.4 per cent climb for building materials group CRH, which finished at €28.89, after a spot of profit-taking in the previous session.

However, Ryanair fell 1.1 per cent to €17.55, having traded lower earlier in the day. Chief executive Michael O’Leary has confirmed that it will not make an offer for the assets of insolvent German airline Air Berlin.

IFG Group fell 2.7 per cent to €1.62 after it reported half-year results that showed a drop in profits and exceptional costs relating to a restructuring programme and legal costs. Trading volumes were not high in the stock.

Food group Glanbia rose 0.5 per cent to €15.56 after a recent weak spell, while Dalata Hotel Group was also stronger, climbing 1.4 per cent to €4.92.

Paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa advanced 2.45 per cent to €25.13.

London

Britain’s top share index rose on Wednesday, recovering some of the previous session’s losses as financials firmed and media stock ITV crept higher. The FTSE 100 index rose 0.4 per cent, the biggest advance in more than a week on a closing basis.

Among financials, HSBC added 0.9 per cent while Barclays and Standard Chartered rose 0.2 and 0.6 per cent respectively. Banking stocks were hit particularly hard in the previous session as risky assets slid on geopolitical worries after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday.

Precious metals miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo took a breather following strong gains on Tuesday when safe haven assets were in demand. Both fell around 0.1 per cent.

ITV’s shares regained part of the previous session’s losses, ending up 2.6 per cent. ITV ended Tuesday with a loss of nearly 5 per cent, caught up in a wider sell-off within the European media sector after German peer ProSiebenSat.1 slumped after cutting its outlook for TV advertising.

However, a more positive set of results from RTL Group boosted the sector on Wednesday, in turn lifting shares in ITV.

Europe

Almost every sector of the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced in the absence of any escalation of the tension between the US and North Korea.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 gained 0.7 per cent, recovering nearly all the ground lost the day before when North Korea’s missile launch sparked a sell-off.

Shares in French medical equipment supplier Biomerieux led gains, jumping 8 per cent after it raised its 2017 forecasts, bolstered by a strong first half. Its shares have risen more than 30 per cent year-to-date.

Shares in German broadcaster RTL rose 2.1 per cent after it boosted second-quarter revenue, beating expectations despite an advertising market it called challenging.

Stronger first-half profit and growing business volume helped Swiss insurer Baloise gain 1.3 per cent.

New York

Wall Street stocks were on track for a fourth consecutive rise and the dollar strengthened after data bolstered optimism that the US economy is on firm footing. Gasoline spiked to the highest in two years as Tropical Storm Harvey relentlessly pounded the energy-rich Gulf coast.

A report from payroll processor ADP showed that US private employers added 237,000 jobs in August for its biggest monthly increase in five months, above the 183,000 jobs expected by economists.

Financials were among the leading gainers, with Goldman Sachs rising 1.23 per cent, providing the biggest boost to the Dow, as the robust data is expected to strengthen the Federal Reserve’s case for another rate hike this year.

(Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters.)

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