Dust settles on a poor day for ISEQ
IRISH shares plunged yesterday, led lower by airlines following the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Glanbia also fell as the 'Farmers Journal' reported that there may be problems with the dairy company's plans to sell its Irish units.
The benchmark ISEQ closed down 13.51 points, or 0.4pc, at 3342.18 points. Ryanair declined 1.9pc at €3.99, while Aer Lingus closed down 2.7pc at 73c as yesterday's volcanic eruption led airports across Europe to close.
Irish Continental Group closed unchanged at €16.90 despite reporting an increase in bookings as passengers sought an alternative way to travel because of air travel disruption.
Glanbia closed down 1.7pc at €3.14. The shares fell as much as 4.7pc after the 'Farmers Journal' said the Glanbia Co-op may face an "uphill struggle" in getting approval for an offer for Glanbia's Irish dairy unit.
Most co-op shareholders remain "open minded" until they see details of the proposed offer, the newspaper reported yesterday.
PetroNeft jumped 7.1pc to 39c after the exploration company issued an upbeat statement about the company's drilling programme in Siberia.
The banks also had a good day with Allied Irish Banks rising 3.9pc to €1.61 after the Irish Independent reported around a dozen suitors are running the rule over the bank's Polish operations. Bank of Ireland closed up 2.8pc at €1.71.
Elsewhere in Europe, shares enjoyed a good day with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index extending a 19-month high, as better-than-forecast economic growth in China buoyed confidence in the global recovery and Roche Holding reported sales that topped analysts' estimates.
Roche, the world's biggest maker of cancer drugs, climbed the most in two months.
Syngenta advanced 2.8pc as the largest maker of agricultural chemicals said the northern hemisphere's growing season was "progressing well".
"We are in a recovery scenario," said Rolf Biland, Zurich-based chief investment officer at VZ Holding, which oversees about $5.7bn (€4.2bn).
"There are still open questions but fundamental economic data has been very strong lately," he added.
China's growth accelerated to the fastest pace in almost three years in the first quarter, increasing speculation that the government may move to cool the economy.
GDP rose 11.9pc from a year earlier, the country's statistics bureau reported.
National benchmark indexes rose in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 increased 0.5pc, while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX gained 0.2pc.
In London, Dana Petroleum, which has many Irish shareholders, gained more than 3pc after saying it made a "significant" gas discovery at the Platypus prospect in the North Sea.