Hope of Greek bailout boosts bourses
IRISH stocks gained for a second day after rising in tandem with shares elsewhere in Europe following a slew of economic reports that showed factories worldwide enjoyed a bumper month in February and hopes of a bailout for Greece.
The benchmark ISEQ advanced 24.58 points, or 0.9pc, to 2,898.18. National benchmark indexes rose in all 18 western European markets, with Germany's DAX climbing 2.1pc, France's CAC 40 increasing 1.6pc and Britain's FTSE 100 gaining 1pc.
Among the chief risers was Kingspan, which closed up 11pc at €5.55, the biggest jump in six months, after the building and insulation materials company said it saw "tangible evidence of stability" emerging and conditions becoming more predictable.
Another stock to soar yesterday was Petroceltic International, which rose 15.4pc to 15c after Tunisia said it planned to increase oil and natural-gas production by 23pc this year. Petroceltic is planning two Tunisian wells in June or July.
Benchmark heavyweight CRH gained 0.9pc to close at €16.89 ahead of results released today. The company was raised to "buy" from "neutral" at MF Global Equities Research by equity analyst Tobias Woerner. He set a price target of €21.50 per share.
Elan was up 4pc to €5.33 after good news about a possible cure for Alzheimer's, while Kerry touched another record high of €23.75 following last week's results. The food company announced that 76pc of the shares were owned by independent shareholders rather than the agricultural co-op that held the remainder.
Grafton rose 2.1pc to €2.45 after it said Investec had increased its stake in the building materials firm to 5.05pc.
Elsewhere in Europe, stocks also gained for a second day. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 1.2pc to 248.69 on speculation Greece may receive assistance to finance its debt and as rising metal prices boosted the earnings outlook for mining companies. National Bank of Greece led the nation's shares to a one-month high.
Copper climbed as much as 5.6pc in London after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake disrupted supplies from Chile, the world's biggest producer.
British bank HSBC slid 5.2pc, the largest decline since April, as full-year net income of $5.83bn trailed the $7.76bn median estimate.
Sanofi-Aventis and Tesco gained after billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway disclosed increased stakes. Sanofi, France's biggest drugmaker, rallied 2.1pc and Tesco, Britain's largest retailer, increased 3.2pc, the most in nine months.
BP climbed 3pc as crude rose for a second day. The stock was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at BofA-Merrill Lynch Global Research.