Banking profits hike boosts ISEQ
IRISH shares advanced, dragged higher by the banks as earnings from UK-based Barclays topped estimates. The benchmark ISEQ closed up 34.93 points, or 1.2pc, at 2897.64 points yesterday.
National benchmark indexes rose in 16 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 climbed 1.7pc, while the UK’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX rose 1.5pc.
Bank of Ireland advanced 6.9pc to €1.30, while Allied Irish Banks rose 6.1pc to €1.13 after the National Treasury Management Agency completed a successful bond sale.
In Britain, Barclays bank said that 2009 profit more than doubled, lifted by investment banking and the sale of a fund management unit.
Independent News & Media jumped 8.7pc to 10c after circulation of the group’s flagship newspapers soared.
Providence Resources added 0.3c to close at 4c on news that it had won a licence to explore for heave oil off west Cork.
DCC closed up 1.8pc at €19.23 after Davy Stockbrokers said it may be interested in buying “select” liquefied petroleum gas operations from Royal Dutch Shell’s European unit.
Stocks elsewhere in Europe climbed, sending the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index to the biggest gain in six weeks. Banks and mining stocks were among the best performers.
Cautiousness “Earnings have been pretty good, with companies protecting their margins and, overall, things have been going well,” said Eric Bleines, a fund manager at CCR Actions in Paris, which oversees $1.6bn in stocks.
“That’s helping the market. What’s less reassuring is the cautiousness of outlooks.” Shares in Barclays surged 6.8pc to 293.75p, the highest level since June after the bank said that net income rose to £9.39bn.
Deutsche Bank soared 3.7pc to €45.77 as Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on Germany’s biggest lender to “outperform” from “neutral”.
Natixis, the investment-banking unit of France’s secondlargest lender by branches, rallied 7.1pc to €3.36. BHP Billiton gained 3.1pc to £1,973 leading basic-resource producers to the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
The world’s largest mining company was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at ING. Petropavlovsk, a producer of gold in Russia, jumped 9.1pc to £9.53 as gold, copper and nickel rose in London.
L’Oreal sank 4.7pc to €73.18. The world’s biggest cosmetics maker reported an 8pc drop in full-year profit to €1.79bn.
Greek stocks declined for a third day even as Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the country was ahead of its own deficit-reduction targets and would not require any bailout from the EU.