Absence of bad news drives ISEQ
It was a quiet day on the Irish Stock Exchange but stock prices enjoyed a St Patrick's Day bounce following international markets higher.
Dealers said an absence of bad news together with the rise in oil prices to $100 a barrel going relatively unnoticed in the midst of Japan's disaster and unrest in the Middle East helped Irish shares to make progress.
Kingspan was one of the biggest movers on the day, buoyed by a strong performance from the UK-based SIG Group that supplies insulation and plasterboards. SIG gained 7pc on its results with Kingspan up over 10pc to €6.70 on the stronger sentiment toward the sector.
CRH also enjoyed a good run and made gains again helped by a rise in profits at the German Heidelberg Cement group. CRH rose 5.5pc to €15.30 with dealers saying there was a view that this stock had been over sold.
Smurfit Kappa also had a good day, ending 3pc higher to €8.27 helped by positive data and a return in interest to cyclical stocks.
Airline stocks, which have been hit by the surge in oil prices, also were somewhat back in vogue. German airline Lufthansa brought in solid figures and forecast improved operating profits and sales for this year. Ryanair also firmed by just over 3pc to close at €3.24 while Aer Lingus added 3.3pc to 77c.
Other stocks on the move included DCC, which was up just under 1pc to €22, Glanbia added 3pc to €4.20 while Kerry rose 2pc to €26.67.
Good results from Fed Ex in the US heartened investors generally and gave the markets hope they will see further good corporate news as the results season gets into full swing. US stocks bounced back after three days of declines as bargain hunters stalked the market. But it may prove to be a short-term rally.
"Momentum is still weakening," one trader said. "I don't think the fear is going to be expelled, alleviated all at once."
Worries about the crisis in Japan lingered, although news that Japan was moving closer to restoring power at a nuclear plant helped to soothe concerns. Group of Seven Finance Ministers will meet today to discuss the threat from the horrific earthquake to the world economy.
This has raised the prospect of co-ordinated action to prevent the disaster from crippling the Japanese economy.
"Everybody is focused on Japan," said David Kelly, chief market strategist at JPMorgan Funds in New York. "If any solution could be found, the crisis suddenly gets less severe, then you'd expect to get a bounce in markets."