Dublin ends 2011 with a whimper for a flat year result
THE last trading day of 2011 let traders exit what has been a horrific year but facing an extremely uncertain 2012.
Many markets, including Dublin's, closed early as they entered the New Year's weekend. Dublin ended the year in positive territory, up 0.82pc for 2011.
And despite some gains made in the few hours those markets were opened, the bottom lines for 2011 for most bourses made for poor reading.
A €15bn austerity package unveiled by Spain's government, which includes income tax hikes and taxes on savings and expensive homes, did little to help markets. The potential impact of spending cuts on corporate earnings was underlined by Spain's drug makers. They reckon their revenue will decline 15pc in 2012 and that profits will keep falling until 2015.
But yesterday's overall trading sent markets into positive territory. The ISEQ Overall Index gained just under 2pc, or 56.56 points, to close the session at 2,901.82. That's the highest closing level for the index since July. But there was little real action. Insurer FBD added just over 0.7pc even as it said it had sold some of its units for €8.5m to an Irish unit of UK firm Jardine Lloyd Thompson. FBD will receive an initial payment of €6.75m under the terms of the deal.
Exploration firm Providence Resources was unchanged at €2.47 after it said it had completed the $16m (€12.3m) sale of its Nigerian subsidiary. The division held Providence's stake in an exploration block in the offshore Aje field.
Shares in mining firm Kenmare Resources soared over 12pc, or 5.8 cent, to end the day at 53.8 cent. Prices for the raw materials that the company mines in Mozambique, including titanium oxide and rutile, have sharply increased. Irish drug firm Elan rose 2.6pc to €10.72. That's the highest level since mid-2008. It rose 2.2pc on Thursday amid fresh speculation that Elan's drug development partner Johnson & Johnson could be interested in acquiring Elan. But any acquisition would be fraught with hurdles. Elan's US drug partner, Biogen Idec, has first dibs on the Irish firm's stake in blockbuster multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri.
Recruitment firm CPL Resources declined 3.7pc, or 10 cent, to €2.55.
National benchmark indices advanced in 15 of the 17 western European markets open yesterday. The UK's FTSE 100 rose 0.1pc, trimming this year's decline to 5.6pc. Germany's DAX advanced 0.9pc for an annual loss of 15pc. France's CAC-40 was 0.82pc higher, making for an annual decline of over 18pc. Post-Christmas trading has been slow, with daily volume on the Stoxx 600 this week dipping to 33pc of this year's average.