European shares edge upwards as investors focus on likely rate hikes

European shares edged up on Tuesday as investors focused on the likelihood that US and UK central bankers would hike interest rates this week.
Insulation specialist Kingspan tumbled 4.38 per cent to €85.16. Dealers said the group had a “good run” ahead of announcing a record first-quarter sale of €1.89 billion on Friday. However, the stock has since given up those gains.
Building materials giant CRH inched 0.48 per cent up to €38.365. US rival Martin Marietta reported 25 per cent growth in first quarter sales to $1.15 billion, but indicated that raw materials costs would keep rising.
Ryanair, which is due to report passenger figures on Wednesday, edged up 0.41 per cent to €14.67. Rival Wizz Air published strong growth in passenger numbers on Tuesday.
Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment, which will publish a trading statement on Wednesday, climbed 1.95 per cent to €98.44.
Smurfit Kappa slipped 0.25 per cent to €40.58. The packaging maker announced a small acquisition on Tuesday.
Bank of Ireland was static on €5.802 despite lenders proving popular with investors in Europe on the back of likely interest rate increases. AIB added 0.38 per cent to €2.09.
Wizz Air reported that it carried 3.6 million passengers last month compared with 953,000 in April 2021, pushing its shares up 1.8 per cent to 3,232.36p.
However, some traders thought investor response was more muted than it should have been, given that recent expansion meant it had 5.6 million seats available for summer flying. Its shares hit 3,312p shortly after trade opened on Tuesday, but gave up much of that ground later in the day.
The news had a positive knock-on effect on Aer Lingus and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines’ Group. It added 3.5 per cent to 149p.
The group is due to report first-quarter results this week. In contrast, Easyjet slipped 1.75 per cent to 551.2p.
Oil major BP soared 5.8 per cent to 414.25 after boosting a share buyback programme following record earnings driven by high oil and gas prices.
Irish DIY and builders’ merchant Grafton Group slid 1.02 per cent to 969.8p.
The Construction Products Association predicted that inflation would slow growth in British building to 2.8 per cent, against the 4.3 per cent expected three months ago.
BNP Paribas jumped 5.15 per cent to €51.32 after the bank reported gains from both equities and fixed-income trading.
Raiffeisen Bank International climbed 7 per cent to €11.67. Washing machine and domestic electrical appliance maker Electrolux was up 6.1 per cent at 151.70 Swedish kroner.
Air France KLM climbed 1.72 per cent to €3.96. German carrier Lufthansa advanced 3.34 per cent to €7.36.
Europe’s benchmark indices rebounded after a flash-crash briefly wiped €300 billion off shares on Monday.
The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday, with the Bank of England likely to follow on Thursday.
Analysts say markets have already factored in these increases. More than half the companies that announced results this earnings season beat market expectations but European stocks remain under pressure from inflation and fears that the Ukraine war will hit growth.
CRH rival Martin Marietta Materials was up 2.22 per cent at $363.25 around 5.10pm Irish time after announcing positive first-quarter revenues.
On Wall Street the S&P 500 and the Dow rose as investors picked up shares in financials and beaten-down megacap companies, while being cautious about the Federal Reserve’s ability to tame inflation without impeding growth.
Estée Lauder slumped 5.3 per cent after the cosmetics maker cut its full-year profit forecast due to fresh Covid-19 restrictions in China and the Russia-Ukraine crisis.