Wednesday 13 December 2017

European markets unchanged as Vodafone shares jump 5pc

John Malone, chairman, Liberty Media Corp
John Malone, chairman, Liberty Media Corp

John Mulligan/Bloomberg

European markets remained largely unchanged yesterday after posting a weekly gain that was the biggest since last month.

For many retail Irish investors, at least some of the attention was on Vodafone. Shares in the UK mobile operator jumped almost 5pc on upgrades and speculation that the company could look at a merger.

The shares rose 12pc since Wednesday, closing yesterday at £2.54 and giving it a market capitalisation of £67.3bn (€94.5bn).

The chairman of Liberty Global, John Malone, which owns UPC, said this week that Vodafone would be a "great fit" with Liberty.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 2.9pc this week as executive board member Benoit Coeure said the European Central Bank will increase bond buying in May and June.

The ISEQ Overall Index was just 0.17pc higher at 6,278.02.

Among the movers were Ryanair, which added 2.2pc, or 23 cent, to end the session at €10.90.

The airline releases full-year results next Tuesday, with expectations that it will record a 65pc rise in pre-tax profit, at €865m.

Aer Lingus slipped just over 1pc to €2.36, as investors await a Government decision on a possible sale to IAG.

The proposed sale isn't on the agenda for next week's Cabinet agenda, it's understood. The Government controls 25.1pc of Aer Lingus and has to decide whether or not to sell it to IAG.

Oil and gas explorer PetroNeft closed up 4.6pc to 7 cents after it gave a positive update on its Western Siberian operations.

Vodafone's advance helped the UK's FTSE 100 Index climb 0.4pc, while Germany's DAX fell 0.4pc and France's CAC-40 declined by just 0.03pc.

Financiere Richemont fell 1pc after the maker of Cartier jewellery and Montblanc pens reported an unexpected decline in April sales.

Irish Independent

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