Irish shares up despite BoI's slump
IRISH stocks rose yesterday as a good performance by a smattering of companies helped to mitigate a major slump in Bank of Ireland's share price after the two biggest private investors cut their stakes. The ISEQ Overall Index was up 25.66 points or 0.5pc to 5095.29 by the end of the day.
Permanent TSB saw the biggest percentage gains of the day, rising 9pc to 12c. Weekend speculation in the British press suggested Ulster Bank may be eyeing a deal with PTSB to take on a share of Ulster's balance sheet, though an alternative deal with KBC, Danske or another financial backer was also mentioned.
Total Produce also jumped, adding 4pc to 97c, after reporting slightly better-than-expected preliminary results for 2014. The fresh food distributor saw revenues boosted by a number of acquisitions made during the year, including a stake in US group Oppenheimer.
Aer Lingus rose 3pc to €1.71. Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said he expects strike action threatened by Aer Lingus workers over the St Patrick's Day weekend to be called off, though contingency plans are still being drawn up.
Leading the losers was Bank of Ireland. It slumped 10pc to 33c after US billionaire Wilbur Ross and Prem Watsa, his Canadian investment partner, hired Deutsche Bank to sell a 6.5pc stake in the lender.
In Europe stocks rose, rallying the most in eight months as investors speculated that the military standoff in Ukraine will not lead to war.
The composite Stoxx Europe 600 Index had risen 2pc to 337.1 at 4.30 pm in London, extending gains after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sees no need to invade Ukraine and is not considering annexing its Crimea region.
National benchmark indices advanced in every western-European market except Iceland. France's CAC 40 rose 2.5pc and Germany's DAX rallied 2.4pc. The UK's FTSE 100 increased 1.7pc.