Stock markets gain as investors assess coronavirus damage

Markets report: Iseq all-share index closes 4.25% higher, outperforming European peers

Global stock markets edged higher on Tuesday as investors assessed the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, while the MSCI benchmark of world equities was on pace to finish its worst quarter since the financial crisis of 2008. Stocks have rallied since the start of last week but remain down more than 20 per cent since the start of the year.


Dublin’s benchmark Iseq all-share index staged a rebound on Tuesday, closing 4.25 per cent, outperforming European peers.

It ended up as a mixed day for the banking stocks after the State's two largest retail banks announced a suspension of their dividend on Monday on the back of European Central Bank guidance. AIB closed up 1.09 per cent while Bank of Ireland slipped 3.58 per cent on the day.

Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment rose almost 12 per cent on its Irish listing after the UK's competition watchdog approved its proposed €12 billion merger with the Stars Group. Regulators in the Republic have yet to clear the deal.


Other big gainers on the day included Dalata Hotel Group, which rose 12.8 per cent, and Glenveagh Properties, which ended the day 10.2 per cent higher.

Insurer FBD fell 4.6 per cent, albeit on extremely light volume, as it named well-known corporate figure Paul D'Alton as its interim chief executive as it continues work on securing a permanent successor to Fiona Muldoon. Ms Muldoon announced last October that she planned to step down as chief executive this year.


The FTSE 100 index rose 2 per cent, with cigarette maker Imperial Brands surging 12.3 per cent as it secured a new credit line and said it was not seeing any major hit to business from the coronavirus pandemic.

Luxury carmaker Aston Martin fell 12.3 per cent after saying it was furloughing some employees as it handles the fallout from the outbreak.

Technology company Smiths Group rose about 10 per cent after saying it was looking at cutting costs and that it should be eligible to access funding from the Bank of England's Covid Corporate Finance Facility.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 1.7 per cent for the day, having earlier sunk into negative territory before settling below intraday highs.

For the day, energy stocks, which are among the worst hit by the rout, led gains. Still, they lost about a third of their value over the quarter, their worst ever.

Travel and leisure stocks also gained for the day, but underperformed their peers by a vast margin over the quarter, losing nearly 43 per cent.

Italian stocks added about 1 per cent for the day, but marked their worst quarter ever, falling about 27 per cent.

German stocks gained about 1 per cent, but lost roughly a quarter of their value over the three-month period.

Among individual movers, Nokian Tyres topped the Stoxx 600, adding about 18 per cent after Finland increased its stake in the tyre maker.

HelloFresh jumped 13 per cent to close at a record high after the German meal-kit delivery firm forecast first-quarter revenue above market expectations.

New York

Another set of gains for Facebook, Amazon. com, Apple, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet, known as the FAANG group of stocks, helped the Nasdaq jump 1 per cent on Tuesday.

The blue-chip Dow is on course for its biggest quarterly percentage decline since 1987 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is set to close out its worst first three months of the year since 2008, however.

Shares of Carnival, already by hammered by plunging global travel demand, tumbled 12 per cent after it said it was raising about $6 billion in combination debt and equity and suspend its dividend payouts.

The energy index jumped 4 per cent, boosted by a rebound in prices from 18-year lows after the United States and Russia agreed to discuss stabilising energy markets. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business