Results in spotlight as ISEQ cuts losses
IT was another busy results day for Irish companies as the reporting season continues, with Irish Life & Permanent, Fyffes and Glanbia being in yesterday's driving seat.
Wider afield, the main concern for investors was the price of oil, which continued its ascent as unrest in Libya continued to ratchet up with government and rebel forces clashing as Colonel Gaddafi fights to retain control of the country. The events overshadowed positive jobs data from the US.
The ISEQ Overall Index closed down 1.27pc, or 37.5 points, at 2,921.66 yesterday, paring a much deeper earlier decline where it had been off as much as 47.5 points.
Main movers on the day included Irish Life & Permanent, which sank almost 6pc, or 5.6 cent, to 88 cent as it reported a €197m loss for 2010, with its banking unit posting a loss of €364m -- more than a third lower than it reported the previous year. IL&P made an impairment provision of €420m in 2010, but the institution said losses at its banking unit should moderate this year.
For shareholders in dairy group Glanbia, better-than-expected profits did little to shift the share price by day's end. The stock had edged over 2pc lower in early trading but closed the session unchanged at €4.30. It reported an almost 23pc rise in operating profit to €136.5m for 2010 with a positive outlook for 2011.
Fruit importer Fyffes reported flat full-year profits of €21.3m for 2010. Its shares closed 2.75pc lower at 42.5 cent.
Other movers included Aer Lingus, which continued to shed value on rising oil prices. It slumped 4.4pc, or 4 cent, to 86.5 cent. Ryanair rose 1.1pc to €3.39. Grafton Group, which issues full-year results today, nudged 1.67pc lower to €3.81. Bank of Ireland lost almost 3pc to finish at 33 cent.
National benchmark indices retreated in 16 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. The UK's FTSE-100 fell 0.2pc, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC-40 declined 0.5pc and 0.7pc respectively.
In Europe, producer-price inflation accelerated more than economists forecast in January as soaring energy costs added to the European Central Bank's concerns that inflationary pressures were building. The ECB is due to meet today to make its monthly decision on interest rates.
German pharma distribution group Celesio, which owns Unicare and Cahill May Roberts in Ireland, slumped 5.9pc to €18.57s as DZ Bank cut its rating on the shares to "sell" from "buy," citing a "cloudy" outlook.