European shares ended higher on Thursday, while new data revealed US inflation showed signs of moderating last month, easing worries about the Federal Reserve there delivering big interest rate hikes in the near term.
British retailers led the advance after earnings from major companies showed shoppers spent freely at Christmas, enjoying their first holiday season free of Covid-19 restrictions for three years. But retailers warned most would tighten their belts in 2023.
The Iseq index rose almost 1 per cent in line with European markets, as most of its biggest stocks traded higher.
CRH added 0.85 per cent to close at €41.36, while Paddy Power-owner Flutter Entertainment was up 0.8 per cent at €141.30.
Ryanair also advanced, rising 2.1 per cent to €1.99, while insulation-maker Kingspan added 2.3 per cent to €58.70.
It was a more moribund session for the banks, with Bank of Ireland slipping 0.6 per cent to close the session at €9.15, and AIB down 0.2 per cent at €3.65.
But Kerry edged up 0.2 per cent to €88.32 the day after it agreed to sell its sweet ingredients business to US equity firm Advent International for €500 million.
The FTSE 100 closed 0.9 per cent higher, with the blue chip index nearing its all-time high, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 gained 1.6 per cent.
Home builders Persimmon and Barratt Developments secured gains of more than 6 per cent despite Persimmon warning over a slump in house sales near the end of 2022 and indicating that these market conditions would hurt its outlook for 2023.
Asos jumped 20.9 per cent after the online fashion retailer said operational changes would help it deliver a £300 million (€338m) benefit to its current financial year, giving the group a much-needed lift after sales fell over Christmas.
Tesco edged up 0.9 per cent after keeping its full-year profit guidance unchanged. The supermarket chain joined retail rivals in reporting a stronger-than-expected Christmas, with sales up almost 8 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the six months to January 7th.
The Stoxx 600 rose 0.6 per cent, closing out at its highest level since late April, with the European retail sector jumping 1.9 per cent. The Dax in Frankfurt and the Cac 40 in Paris both added slightly more than 0.7 per cent.
The rate-sensitive tech sector rose 0.4 per cent, supported by a rise in semiconductor stocks such as ASML Holding after Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC reported a forecast-beating 78 per cent rise in quarterly profit.
Logitech International dropped 16.9 per cent, after it posted lower earnings and sales between October and December, and cut its sales outlook.
Shares in Ubisoft fell 14 per cent after the French video game maker warned of lower-than-expected full-year revenue and postponed the release of its game Skull and Bones, prompting some analysts to cut their estimates and price targets.
Wall Street’s main indexes rose in choppy early trade as cooling inflation supported bets of smaller interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, though concerns remained that the central bank would keep hiking rates further.
The Labor Department’s report showed US consumer prices grew 6.5 per cent on an annual basis in December, in line with expectations, from a 7.1 per cent rise last month.
Big technology and growth stocks such as Alphabet and Amazon rose between 0.2 per cent and 1 per cent.
Tesla slid 2.5 per cent following a report that the electric car-maker delayed plans to expand its Shanghai factory, while Bed Bath & Beyond climbed 14.2 per cent after rising for three consecutive sessions despite bleak quarterly results.
American Airlines advanced 5.6 per cent after raising its fourth-quarter profit forecast on strong demand for travel during the key holiday season.
Additional reporting: Reuters