Saturday 25 February 2017

McInerney shares rise 19pc but the ISEQ treads water

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

Antonio Vazquez,
chief executive
officer of Iberia,
right, speaks as
Rafael Sanchez-
Lozano, the
company's
managing
director and
chief operating
officer, listens
during the
company's
annual
shareholders'
meeting in
Madrid,
yesterday
Antonio Vazquez, chief executive officer of Iberia, right, speaks as Rafael Sanchez- Lozano, the company's managing director and chief operating officer, listens during the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Madrid, yesterday

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday as stocks traded within fairly narrow boundaries.

The ISEQ Overall index gained for a third day but remained under the 3,000 mark once again.

The index closed up 9.42 points, or 0.3pc, at 2991.86 as a small number of shares posted gains of less than 1pc in an unusually uneventful session.

Home builder McInerney was almost the only stock to post a noticeable gain, surging 19pc to 9.5c.

Bookmaker Paddy Power advanced 1.2pc to €25 on hopes that English punters have put their hearts before reason and backed their own country in the World Cup. More than £1bn (€1.2bn) has been wagered in the UK already.

Independent News and Media (INM) rose during trading after the publisher of this newspaper said it anticipated an improvement in operating profit this year after advertising trends stabilised. INM rose as much as 8.7pc to 10c but closed almost unchanged.

Stock exchanges elsewhere in Europe also closed little changed, erasing losses in the final hour of trading on better-than-forecast US home sales data, as gains by food and healthcare companies offset declines by basic-resource producers.

GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's largest drugmaker, climbed 2pc after an upgrade by Jefferies International. Anglo American fell with metal prices. Prudential retreated 2.5pc after its $35.5bn (€29bn) takeover of AIG's main Asian division collapsed.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose less than 0.1pc. The gauge has slumped 9.8pc from this year's high on April 15, amid concern that European nations will have difficulty taming their budget deficits without harming the economic recovery.

The decline has left the measure trading at less than 15 times the reported earnings of its companies and near the cheapest valuation since 2008, according to Bloomberg data.

"We're still in a period of uncertainty," said Matthieu Giuliani, a fund manager at Palatine Asset Management in Paris.

"There's a battle between the macroeconomy and the companies. That's the debate. The market isn't expensive and companies are well-managed and generating cash flow."

Even so, SEB, the Swedish bank that is the second-biggest lender in the Baltic region, is reducing its investments in European equities as it expects Asian stocks to outperform during the coming year.

"We are putting money into emerging markets, where currencies are undervalued and government debt is lower," Hans Peterson, chief investment officer of private banking said.

"We expect the emerging markets in Asia to outperform the MSCI World Index by 3 to 4 percentage points over the coming 12 months. Now is the time to invest."

BHP Billiton slipped 1pc after Australia's largest oil and gas producer said it was studying the impact of President Obama's moratorium forcing deep-water drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to halt operations.

Irish Independent

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