Prospect of pension reform buoys ISEQ financial stocks
IRISH shares gained for a fourth day yesterday as some financial stocks were buoyed by the prospects of radical reforms of the pension industry.
The ISEQ closed up 7.36 points, or 0.25pc, at 2940.03 points. National benchmark indices rose in 14 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 climbed 0.9pc, while Germany's DAX increased 0.7pc and France's CAC 40 gained 0.8pc.
Irish Life & Permanent closed up 0.6pc at €2.98 after saying arrears among mortgage holders will probably peak at 4pc this year and revealing full-year results in line with previous guidance. Insurer FBD, which revealed full-year results yesterday, closed unchanged at €5.60. IFG, a financial services company, advanced 4pc to €1.30 on hopes that government reforms will lead to increased demand for its products.
Kerry jumped 3.1pc to €24.48 as investors continued to welcome last week's results and the group's expansion plans following a €22m bid for Newmarket Co-op. Tullow Oil soared 6.5pc to €13.95 following renewed speculation in London this week that it might be bought out by a British rival.
Stocks elsewhere in Europe climbed to a six-week high as basic-resource producers rallied with metal prices and Greece announced €4.8bn of additional deficit cuts. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.8pc to 252.6, the highest close since January 21.
Xstrata and Kazakhmys advanced more than 3pc as copper climbed following the earthquake in Chile. Germany's Solarworld and Q-Cells surged at least 10pc as the German cabinet backed plans to cut solar subsidies by less than originally proposed. Renewable Energy Corp, the Norwegian maker of solar-energy components, advanced 7.3pc.
Paris-based Adecco jumped 4pc after the largest supplier of temporary workers said revenue trends were improving.
Standard Chartered rose 5.3pc after the British bank that makes more than 90pc of pre-tax earnings in Asia posted a record profit for 2009 said it will raise as much as $750m by selling shares in India. Arriva rallied 6.2pc to a 14-month high after the operator of Britain's longest rail route reported better-than-expected profit.
German sports clothes maker Adidas sank 4.1pc, the most since August, after reporting a 64pc drop in fourth-quarter profit, to €19 because of weaker sales and writedowns in the company's China business. Puma, the second-biggest European sporting-goods maker, slipped 2.4pc to €218.55.
US stocks rose in early trading after data on US private employment and the vast services sector reassured investors nervous about the pace of economic recovery.
The Institute for Supply Management's services gauge rose in February at its fastest pace since December 2007. The report showed private employers shed fewer jobs last month than in January, suggesting the battered labour market may be turning the corner.