Early surge but mixed results amid worries over price of oil
It was a mixed bag on European markets yesterday, with decent corporate results from firms including Germany's Lufthansa and Airbus-maker EADS providing initial overall support to stocks that subsequently ended sessions lower as investors continued to fret about Portugal's high borrowing rates and swings in oil prices.
At home, the ISEQ followed the trend, dipping in early morning before rallying toward lunch and then declining in the afternoon. The ISEQ Overall Index shed 29.17 points yesterday, or 1pc, to close at 2894.88. That's about 138 points lower than the highest level reached by the ISEQ so far this year -- 3032 back on February 7.
There were no results yesterday to drive activity, but food group Greencore was among the main movers after management said they wouldn't continue to pursue any options related to UK-based Northern Foods. The company said it couldn't best a deal for Northern offered to shareholders by Ranjit Boparan. Greencore shares ended the session 2.56pc higher at €1.20.
The strongest gainer was Aer Lingus, which climbed 7.1pc to finish at 90 cent. Airline stocks around Europe were buoyed by positive data from Lufthansa, which said it was resuming dividend payments after posting a €1.1bn profit in 2010. Ryanair rose almost 1.77pc to end the day at €3.45. The gains were despite continuing fears over oil prices, with Brent climbing 2pc as fighting in Libya worsened.
Kenmare Resources fell 5.88pc to 48 cent, tracking declines in other European mining stocks amid concerns over the price of raw materials. Kenmare produces ilmenite, the ore used to make titanium.
National benchmark indices fell in 11 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. The UK's FTSE-100 and France's CAC-40 retreated 0.6pc, while Germany's DAX fell 0.5pc.
Gains in Europe were also limited after Moritz Kraemer, managing director of European sovereign ratings at Standard & Poor's, warned that some countries might have their credit ratings cut further while a Greek debt default was a "possibility"
Tullow Oil dropped 3.2pc to £14.13 (€16.45) after the explorer reported "slower progress" in resolving a tax dispute in Uganda and full-year profit missed analyst estimates.
Tognum climbed 7.3pc to €24.90 as Daimler and Rolls-Royce offered €24 a share to purchase the German maker of heavy-duty engines. Tognum had surged 23pc on Monday after Daimler and Rolls-Royce said they were considering a joint bid for the company.
Prudential gained 4.9pc to £7.49 (€8.72) after the UK's biggest insurer by market value more than doubled full-year net income to £1.43bn (€1.66bn).