Thursday 23 March 2017

Little change on quiet day's trading

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, on what was a surprisingly quiet bank holiday Monday.

In Dublin, the benchmark ISEQ Overall Index closed almost flat, falling 0.25pc, or 6.70 points, to reach 2712.95 at the bell. Few trends showed in the day's trading, although CRH rose on the back of improved US housing data while food stocks also made ground.

"Volume was light in Dublin but that was offset by trading on the ISEQ in London and elsewhere," said one salesperson. "With no real news breaking on ISEQ companies there was little for the market to zero in on."

The construction giant CRH posted a small gain, ending up 0.28pc at €12.59 after data from the United States, where the company has a huge presence, showed that sales of existing homes had risen, suggesting the economy there may be more robust than previously thought.

Food stocks were also prominent winners on the day. The Irish-led Aryzta climbed 1.25pc to €31.70 a day after chief executive Owen Killian was reported to have taken a 40pc pay cut last year while Origin Enterprises rose slightly, closing up 0.29pc at €3.15.

Most stocks ended the day in the red but there were few significant falls.

Software

Dragon Oil continued to deal with the fall-out from last week's news that production for the year would be worse than forecast, losing 4.08pc to reach €4.77 by the end of the day.

Financial software firm Norkom struggled for most of the day before closing down 4.44pc at 86c.

In contrast to Ireland, 14 out of 18 national benchmark indexes in Western Europe posted gains as Group-of-20 finance chiefs heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve will announce further stimulus measures next week.

The UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.3pc and France's CAC 40 advanced 0.2pc. Germany's DAX increased 0.5pc while the composite Stoxx 600 rose 0.3pc.

"The market has chosen to interpret the outcome from the G-20 as positive, but nothing much has changed at all," said Jeremy Batstone-Carr, London-based head of research at Charles Stanley & Co.

"We could see some serious disappointment if the Fed doesn't deliver on quantitative easing" next week.

G-20 finance ministers and central bankers ended talks in South Korea on Saturday saying they will refrain from "competitive devaluation" and let markets have a bigger role in setting foreign-exchange values.

In London, mining stocks led the market. BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, climbed 2.8pc. Rio Tinto gained 3.3pc. Copper, lead, nickel and tin prices all advanced on the London Metal Exchange.

Irish Independent

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