Shares rose on Monday as a decision to extend trade talks between the UK and the European Union kept hopes of an eventual deal alive.
Hopes of an end to the Covid-19 pandemic also buoyed sentiment as the United States began inoculating its citizens with the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. Last week Britain became the first western nation to begin mass vaccinations.
The Irish index of shares rose 1.1 per cent to close the session at 7,396.38, boosted by banking stocks and building shares.
Shares in AIB rose 3.3 per cent over the session to close the day at €1.547, while Bank of Ireland shares climbed 6.4 per cent to €3.02.
Shares in bellwether company CRH rose just under 1 per cent to €32.73. The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index showed the rate of building activity expansion during November at its sharpest in more than a year.
Ryanair saw its stock up 1.8 per cent to €15.76, gaining back some of the ground it lost on Friday, while packaging group Smurfit Kappa also saw an increase, rising 1.45 per cent to €37.76.
Kerry Group saw its shares decline further to €120.90, a 0.33 per cent decline.
London’s Ftse 100 was range-bound, and ended the session 0.2 per cent lower as a rising pound, declining energy shares and AstraZeneca restrained the market. AstraZeneca posted its worst session in nine months as investors priced in the British drug maker’s move to buy US drug maker Alexion Pharmaceuticals.
AstraZeneca shares sank 5.7 per cent as investors moved to price in the drug maker’s $39 billion (€32 billion) deal for the biotech firm, one of this year’s biggest mergers globally.
The domestically focused Ftse 250, considered a barometer for Brexit sentiment, closed about 0.7 per cent higher although it was off its session highs, with financial and consumer discretionary stocks providing the biggest boost.
A strong pound took the shine off of the exporter-heavy Ftse 100, down 0.2 per cent as London and Brussels agreed to “go the extra mile” in coming days to try to reach an elusive trade agreement.
Codemasters soared 22.4 per cent after Electronic Arts said it would buy the video game developer in a deal worth $1.2 billion, trumping an earlier agreement between the British company and rival Take-Two Interactive Software.
With banks in the lead, Europe’s benchmark Stoxx 600 index rose 0.4 per cent after breaking a five-week winning streak to end 1 per cent lower last week. German stay-at-home stocks gained after a new lockdown was announced to rein in the spread of Covid-19. Most shops will be closed in Germany from Wednesday until at least January 10th, chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, cutting short the busy Christmas shopping season.
Shares in online fashion retailer Zalando and food delivery firm Delivery Hero surged 6.7 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively.
The blue-chip Dax index was up 0.8 per cent, logging its best session in three weeks. “In the short term [the lockdown] will be a blow to activity and confidence even if the damage will be limited by knowledge of the imminent vaccine rollout,” said strategists at Deutsche Bank led by Jim Reid.
The Nasdaq 100 jumped more than 1 per cent, looking past reports that tech giants deemed “gatekeepers” by the European Union could face fines of as much as 10 per cent of their annual revenue. Alexion Pharmaceuticals surged more than 30 per cent after AstraZeneca agreed to buy it.
The Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, with markets widely expecting fresh guidance on its continued asset purchases.