Flutter propels Iseq into green as global shares advance

Main European indices close higher as rates expectations shift

European shares gained ground, boosted by upbeat earnings as investors parsed the release of the European Central Bank’s policy meeting minutes.


Outperforming its peers by some margin, the Iseq index advanced by close to 3.4 per cent, pulled higher by what traders in Dublin described as a “whopper” move by Paddy Power owner Flutter.

Trading as high as €180.55 per share at one point, the betting giant finished the session at €178, a gain of almost 15.6 per cent as investors piled in after the group reported a 24 per cent climb in revenues year-on-year to £9.5 billion in 2023. Flutter is attracting significant attention in advance of its US listing at the end of month.

Showing signs of life after its recent slide, Bank of Ireland, meanwhile, added more than 2 per cent, finishing the session at €8.09 per share. Permanent TSB advanced to €1.67 per share, a gain of 1.5 per cent, while AIB was flat at €3.87 per share.


Ryanair added 1.5 per cent to close at €18.19 per share, shaking off some of the negative headlines around its supplier Boeing. Kingspan, meanwhile, fell 0.1 per cent, while it was a mixed session for housebuilders with Cairn Homes up almost 1 per cent to €1.42 per and Glenveagh off by almost 0.9 per cent at €1.20.


Europe’s benchmark Stoxx 50 index advanced by more than 1 per cent while the cross-continental Stoxx 600 was ahead on the session by 0.6 per cent.

Investors digested the minutes of the December European Central Bank meeting, which showed policymakers are satisfied their efforts to cool inflation are working but they remain cautious about wage dynamics and tight-lipped about the timing of interest rate cuts.

Shares in luxury giant Richemont climbed 8.7 per cent after the Cartier jewellery owner’s third-quarter sales trounced forecast, owing to a large revenue jump in China. Other luxury stocks including LVMH and Kering added nearly 2 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively, boosting the personal and household good index up almost 1 per cent.

German sandal maker Birkenstock, meanwhile, plunged more than 10 per cent after warning its full-year earnings could come under pressure as it embarks upon global expansion.


UK shares underperformed their European peers, struggling to shake of the gloom of a three-day slump. In London, the blue-chip FTSE 100 edged just 0.2 per cent higher while the mid-cap FTSE 250 advanced 0.7 per cent.

Buoyed by its rival Flutter’s move up the index, shares in Ladbrokes owner Entain rose nearly 3 per cent.

Defence giant Rolls-Royce moved 3.3 per cent higher while industrial miners Rio Tinto and Anglo American added between 1 per cent and 2 per cent.

Drinks giant Diageo, meanwhile, sank 1 per cent while oil majors Shell and BP both lost ground on reports from the International Energy Agency that the world could generate a “substantial surplus” of crude this year amid faltering economic growth.

New York

The benchmark Nasdaq and S&P 500 jumped on Thursday, recouping recent losses on a boost from chip and megacap stocks, as investors scouted for clues on whether the US Federal Reserve’s rate cuts were imminent and assessed a mixed bag of corporate earnings.

US-listed shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing jumped 8 per cent, after the world’s largest contract semiconductor maker projected a more-than 20 per cent growth in 2024 revenue, on booming demand for high-end chips used in artificial intelligence applications.

Advanced Micro Devices surged 2.4 per cent to notch a record high, while Nvidia, Microchip Technology and Marvell Technology rose between 3.1 per cent and 5.4 per cent.

Tech megacaps such as Microsoft, Amazon and Meta Platforms also gained between 1.1 per cent and 2 per cent, Apple climbed 3.2 per cent, after Bank of America Global Research upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral”, marking the iPhone-maker’s first rating upgrade this year.

Spirit Airlines fell 12.1 per cent, after Citigroup downgraded the stock to “sell” from “neutral” while KeyCorp shed 5.1 per cent, after the lender posted a drop in fourth-quarter profit. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times