ISEQ ends week up after heavy trade in bank shares
THE prime focus at the end of the trading week yesterday continued to be the two main banks, as the National Asset Management Agency prepares to receive the first tranche of loans from financial institutions.
Nationalised Anglo Irish Bank is also poised to deliver what will be an absolutely diabolical set of accounts, while Finance Minister Brian Lenihan will deliver a pivotal speech shortly on the future of Irish banking.
The ISEQ overall index closed up 0.6pc, or 19.50 at 3,123.49, after shedding bigger gains achieved during the day. The index had tipped towards 3,150 in morning trade.
Shares in Allied Irish Banks (AIB) gained 2.6pc, or 4 cent, to finish the session at €1.57. The bank's shares have traded this week at their highest level since January. That was on the back of significant volume.
Bank of Ireland didn't fare as well, sinking almost 1.1pc, or 1 cent, to €1.29, also on heavier- than-usual volume. Irish Life & Permanent was unchanged at €3.93.
Other notable movers on the ISEQ yesterday included recruitment firm CPL Resources, which rose 2.8pc, or 7 cent, to finish at €2.55.
Shares in Grafton Group tumbled just over 5pc, or 16 cent, to €3.01. UK plumbing merchants Wolseley, a Grafton rival, releases interim results on Monday.
Insulation panels maker Kingspan fared better, rising 1.8pc, or 11 cent to €6.11.
In the UK, the FTSE-100 gained 7.51, or 0.1pc, to finish at 5,650.13, the highest since June 25. It rose the third straight week. The FTSE All-Share Index also increased 0.1pc yesterday.
National benchmark indices fell in 12 of the 18 western European markets. Germany's DAX lost 0.5pc and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.3pc.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index slipped 0.4pc to 260.2.
The benchmark gauge gained 0.7pc for the week, however, after Standard & Poor's said it was no longer reviewing Greece's credit rating for a downgrade, and as the US Federal Reserve repeated its pledge to maintain record-low borrowing costs for an "extended period".
In the UK, eyes were on Lloyds, which said it expected to return to profit this year because of lower bad loans than forecast. Its shares jumped 8.2pc to just over 60p.
Shares in RBS, Britain's biggest government-owned bank, jumped 4.8pc to 44p, while Barclays, the UK's second-largest bank, increased 1.3pc to £3.58.