Irish shares up as European stock regains its 2008 levels
IRISH shares advanced yesterday following a broad rally which saw most categories of stocks post gains as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose to its highest level since September 2008 following good results from Intel and JPMorgan Chase.
The ISEQ Overall Index rose 45.8 points, or 1.4pc, to 3355.69 points. Allied Irish Banks jumped 8pc to €1.55 after analysts at Goldman Sachs upgraded the shares to "buy" from "neutral". The analysts reiterated their "buy" recommendation for Bank of Ireland (BoI).
Shares in BoI closed up 2.1pc to €1.67 after Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield said the bank may raise enough capital privately to avoid majority state control. The bank needs €2.7bn to meet Mr Elderfield's new capital requirements.
Kingspan increased 4.9pc to €7.45 after the building materials' company's annual report said Kingspan was in "very good shape facing into 2010". Analysts highlighted several bits of positive news following publication of the report on Tuesday. Independent News & Media extended recent gains, rising 7.9pc to 14c -- the highest close since October.
Smurfit Kappa extended the previous day's gains following an upgrade from Davy Stockbrokers which raised its target for the share price to €12 from €10. The broker said it expected box price increases to more than offset a rise in raw materials.
Fyffes fell 2.6pc to 37c after the banana importer went ex-dividend. The company's semi-annual dividend was 1.1c.
European bourses elsewhere also surged after Intel's unexpectedly good results. Chip makers were among the biggest gainers with Infineon Technologies and STMicroelectronics rallying after Intel forecast sales that topped analysts' estimates.
Ericsson rallied the most in more than a year after Credit Suisse Group boosted its rating on the stock. "We'll see coming up in these quarterly results some revenue numbers that reassure people that if last year was all about cutting costs then this year is about rebuilding sales with a lower cost base," said Jeremy Podger, London-based head of global equities at Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd, which has about $93bn (€68bn) in client assets. "This will give people confidence to go back into equities. It's a positive story."
The first-quarter earnings season began in the US this week, with analysts predicting combined profit for S&P 500 companies increased 30pc from a year earlier, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Stoxx 600 has surged 71pc and the S&P 500 has jumped 78pc from lows in March 2009 as the economy returns to growth.
National benchmark indexes rose in all of the 18 western European markets, except Greece. The UK's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 each advanced 0.6pc, while Germany's DAX gained 0.8pc. Shares in Greece declined as billionaire investor George Soros said the cost of borrowing in the nation's rescue package was too high.
Basic-resource shares led gains in the European benchmark index as aluminum, copper, nickel, tin and zinc rose on the London Metal Exchange. Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, surged 2.1pc, while BHP Billiton, the largest metal company, rose 1.9pc.
UBS gained 2.4pc after chief executive Oswald Gruebel said he's upbeat about the prospects for Switzerland's biggest bank after a return to profit.