ISEQ enjoys boost on back of gains for IL&P and Elan
IRISH stocks advanced yesterday, led by Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) and drugmaker Elan. The ISEQ closed up 33.88 points, or 1.1pc at 3087.85 points, extending gains so far this year to 3.7pc. Twenty stocks advanced, the same number fell, and 17 closed unchanged.
IL&P was among the biggest gainers, jumping 6.5pc to €3.73 after it said it was closing 11 branches and a property survey published by the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute said property prices fell 20pc last year and were close to the floor.
Elan was another big gainer, rising 4.8pc to €5.30 after chief executive Kelly Martin reaffirmed that 2009 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was about $75m (€51.7m). He spoke at a JP Morgan Chase investment conference in San Francisco yesterday.
Kenmare rose for a third day, closing up 4.6pc at 29c after it said Monday that warrant holders had finally fulfilled a long-standing arrangement to invest €5m in the company.
Petroceltic International slid for a second day, falling 4.3pc to 16c, after saying it had run into problems while drilling in Algeria.
In the UK, stocks sank for a second day as a report showed that manufacturing unexpectedly stalled in November. The benchmark FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.5pc to 5,473.48, extending Tuesday's 0.7pc drop. BP and Royal Dutch Shell recorded the biggest drops since November as crude oil prices fell for a third day in New York.
Chocolate maker Cadbury climbed 1.6pc after the Associated Press said Hershey was planning a solo offer for the chocolate maker.
Barclays fell 0.9pc to 313.7 pence, while HSBC Holdings declined 1.5pc to £7.17. Banks were the worst performers among 19 industry groups in Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index as Societe Generale, France's second-largest bank, said it had a "slight profit" in the fourth quarter after about €1.4bn of writedowns and provisions on risky assets.
Elsewhere in Europe, stocks rose for the first time in three days as gains by technology shares overshadowed a retreat in banks after Societe Generale's disappointing results. National benchmark indexes gained in 15 of the 18 western European markets. Germany's DAX advanced 0.4pc, while France's CAC 40 Index slipped 0.1pc.
Infineon Technologies, Europe's second-largest semiconductor maker, climbed 3.2pc; and ASML Holding NV added 1.3pc after Goldman Sachs recommended the shares. Societe Generale sank 3.4pc. National Bank of Greece SA, the nation's biggest lender, slid 4.6pc to €17.72, while Piraeus Bank SA lost 3.3pc to €7.55. Moody's said Greece's economy faced a "slow death" amid deteriorating finances.