Saturday 18 November 2017

Aer Lingus high helps ISEQ take off

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

IRISH stocks posted gains as Aer Lingus rose to its highest levels since February last year and Glanbia touched highs not seen since October 2008.

The ISEQ closed up 4.2 points, or 0.1pc, at 2967.55 as the benchmark continues to bob close to the 3,000 mark.

Aer Lingus, one of the benchmark's best-performing stocks this year, advanced 1.6pc to 99c on optimism the airline's chief executive Christoph Mueller will be able to continue implementing cost-cutting measures.

Cabin crew are due to vote on Sunday on possible strike action but the airline has already said it will continue flying regardless of the result.

Glanbia advanced 1pc to €3.40 and touched an 18-month high of €3.45 during trading. The dairy and food company's shares are now higher than they were when management tried to split the Kilkenny company in two earlier this year.

C&C fell 3.1pc to €3.12 after chief executive John Dunsmore told shareholders at the AGM that sales fell 2pc in Ireland last year.

"It's a tough market and it's going to be tough," Mr Dunsmore said.

Worries about a tough job market in the US knocked shares elsewhere in Europe, despite good earnings reports from some banks and manufacturers.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index swung between gains and losses at least five times as more than 25 companies in the Stoxx 600 reported results.

Nokian Renkaat, the Nordic region's largest tire maker, rallied 6.8pc after posting better-than-estimated earnings.

Aviva, the UK's second-biggest insurer, surged 6pc as first-half profit increased 21pc. Unilever, the world's second-largest maker of consumer goods, declined 4.2pc as sales missed estimates. Barclays slid 4.4pc after revenue at its investment banking operations declined.

Zurich, Switzerland's largest insurer, fell 3.8pc after posting a 51pc decline in second-quarter profit on increased loan-loss provisions for its commercial property books in the UK and Ireland.

Bayer rose 3.5pc after saying its Xarelto drug was as effective as the standard therapy of Sanofi--aventis SA's Lovenox plus warfarin in preventing potentially deadly blood clots in the lungs and legs.

"It's clear that the earnings season has come in fairly strong in Europe and the US though it has not been spectacular," said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels.

"It's common for companies to under-promise and over-deliver. There's also still massive uncertainty about the global economy."

Stocks pared early gains as a report showed more Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment insurance last week. Initial jobless claims climbed by 19,000 in the week ending July 31.

Irish Independent

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