ISEQ enjoys boost from big hitters
THE ISEQ jumped 67.42 points, or 2.1pc, to 3245.19 yesterday as heavyweights such as CRH and Ryanair rose. Meanwhile, the NCB Purchasing Managers index suggested business conditions in the manufacturing industry improved for the first time in 28 months in March.
Shares elsewhere in Europe surged, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to an 18-month high. European markets are closed today for Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Shares in Ryanair jumped 8pc to a two-year high of €3.97 as the airline said the last 12 months had been more profitable than expected.
Shares in Aer Lingus jumped 5.5pc to 77c as the airline continued it recent advance, with investors betting it will survive and prosper after unions agreed to staff cuts.
Fellow index heavyweight CRH rose 2.3pc to €18.91 after it published its annual report. UTV also extended recent gains, rising 10.2pc to €1.30 following better-than-expected results, while PetroNeft surged 8.6pc to 38c after the explorer said on Wednesday that it signed a $5m (€3.7m) credit line with Macquarie Bank to speed up its exploration programme. Readymix rose 5.3pc to 20c after saying on Wednesday that the cement maker's losses will be smaller this year than last year.
Icon also advanced 3.8pc to €19.80 after Lazard Capital raised its price target for the shares in the clinical testing company. Shares in Europe were also buoyed by signs of a recovery in the manufacturing sector. The Stoxx 600 soared 1.5pc to 267.62, the highest close since September 25, 2008.
"The strength of the economic recovery was underestimated and the positive dynamic is still under way," said Rudolf Buxtorf at RBS Coutts Bank in Zurich. "It's too early to be euphoric but the positives have moved to the foreground. There are few alternatives to equities."
National benchmark indexes rose in all 15 western European markets that were open. France's CAC 40 advanced 1.5pc and the UK's FTSE 100 gained 1.2pc. Germany's DAX rallied 1.3pc after reports showed Europe's manufacturing industry expanded at a faster pace than initially estimated in March, adding to signs that a euro-area recovery is gaining strength.
A gauge of UK manufacturing rose to the highest level in 15 years in March, according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and Markit. Miner BHP Billiton rose 1.8 as copper climbed in London, leading mining companies to the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, advanced 2.6pc. Xstrata, the biggest producer of coal for power stations, climbed 4.1pc.
BMW rallied 2.9pc after the world's biggest maker of luxury cars was raised to "outperform" from "underperform" at Credit Suisse, which cited a "positive" pricing strategy.