Banks push ISEQ above 3,000 for first time in month
STRONG performances by the two main financial institutions -- Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks (AIB), as well as a rise in Irish Life & Permanent stock, helped to tip the ISEQ Overall Index above a psychologically important 3,000 level for the first time in about a month.
Ireland's biggest company, CRH, was also in demand by investors yesterday, helping to steer the index firmly into positive territory.
Share prices rose for most companies listed on the exchange, with the exception of firms such as Kerry Group and mining group Kenmare Resources.
The ISEQ Overall Index rose over 1.5pc, or nearly 46 points, to end the session at 3,011.24. It rose about 4.7pc this week after a raft of results were released amid continuing jitters about the future capital requirements of the two main banks.
But yesterday, AIB continued Thursday's surge, rising 16pc, or 20 cent, to close at €1.45. That followed a near 20pc rise the previous day that marked its biggest daily gain in about six months. The bank, which released results earlier in the week, has confirmed that it would sell assets such as its US or Polish operations, or a stake in the institution itself, before seeking any additional capital from shareholders or the Government.
Bank of Ireland joined the party, adding to its almost 10pc rise on Thursday with a 10.8pc climb yesterday to close up 12 cent at €1.21.
Stock in both Bank of Ireland and AIB remains highly volatile, however, and both are trading well below levels they were at in early to mid-January.
Irish Life & Permanent rose nearly 7pc, or 21 cent, to finish at €3.23.
CRH climbed 2pc, or 33 cent, to end the day at €17 after the US government passed an act that will extend the Federal Highway Programme to the end of 2010, among other things.
Cement-maker Holcim also predicted a rise in demand.
Kenmare Resources closed down 28pc in London after the mining company said it was raising $270m in a share placing and open offer at a 45pc discount, in order to fund work at its mine in Mozambique.
Elsewhere, the FTSE-100 in London added 1.3pc to reach 5,599.76, a 4.6pc gain in the week. It is at its highest level since September 2008 amid hopes that economic recovery may be gathering pace.
Germany's DAX was 1.4pc higher yesterday at the close at 5,877.36, while France's CAC-40 rose 2.1pc to finish at 3,910.42.