Thursday 24 August 2017

ISEQ rises as markets hold out for EU leaders

IL&P and AIB benefit as Noonan assures investors over debt fears

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares rose marginally yesterday as the markets took a breath ahead of the meeting of EU leaders in Cannes tonight.

By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index had added 0.07pc, or 1.8 points, to finish the session at 2,609.99.

Like the rest of Europe, traders here paused as the markets waited for the results of that meeting and the statement from a US Federal Reserve meeting which concluded after the close.

The index swung to a big gain early on, before conceding ground throughout the afternoon. In percentage terms, Irish Life & Permanent was the big winner after Finance Minister Michael Noonan assured investors that the country would make good on its debts. His comments helped send IL&P up 13.79pc. Allied Irish Banks also benefited, grabbing 3.26pc.

CRH rebounded slightly from yesterday's 7pc loss after reasonable jobs data from the United States, a key market for the construction giant. It ended Wednesday 1.12pc higher at €12.20. Kerry Group moved higher after a trading statement from the food company was broadly in line with market expectations. The stock closed up 0.71pc at €26.35.

Kerry's statement also boosted Glanbia, which rose 0.44pc to €4.60.

On the other side of the board it was a mixed bag. Aer Lingus slid 2.05pc after Ryanair, which holds close to 30pc of the airline, officially requested the convening of an EGM. Ryanair rose 0.39pc to €3.38.

Elsewhere, European stocks rose, snapping the biggest three-day drop in almost two months.

National benchmark indices climbed in 12 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 rose 1.3pc and France's CAC 40 advanced 1.4pc. Germany's DAX Index gained 2.3pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 1pc.

"The situation remains better than three weeks ago, despite the uncertainty caused by [Greek prime minister] Papandreou moving on his own to issue the referendum," said Witold Bahrke, a Copenhagen- based senior strategist at PFA. "The ring-fencing of Greece is ongoing."

After the close of European markets, Fed policy makers raised their assessment of the economy while saying "significant downside risks" remain and refraining from taking any additional steps to ease monetary policy.

Gain

Next, the UK's second-largest clothing retailer, advanced 6.5pc after reporting growth in third-quarter brand sales that exceeded analyst estimates. Volks- wagen led a gauge of automakers to the biggest gain of all industry groups in the Stoxx 600, rallying 6pc. China's passenger-car market may grow 8pc to 10pc a year over the coming five years, Karl-Thomas Neumann, head of VW's Chinese operations said at a conference in Berlin.

Lloyds dropped 5.4pc. Horta-Osorio is taking leave of absence from his duties as CEO following medical advice and will be replaced in the interim by finance director Tim Tookey.

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