Saturday 21 April 2018

Construction and mining help lift European index

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

The Iseq overall index of Irish shares was down slightly in late afternoon at 6,385.22, a fall of 10.21 points or 0.16pc.

Shares in Smurfit Kappa rose slightly after the company released annual results showing revenues had increased over the course of 2016. Kingspan shares were ahead 2pc.

The worst-performing stock of the day was Bank of Ireland, which was down by over 3pc.

European shares edged higher on Wednesday led by mining and construction stocks on a heavy day for company results.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2pc, but national indexes were mixed, with Italy, Spain and Britain in negative territory while France's blue-chip index outperformed.

Norwegian insurer Storebrand was the best performing stock in the index, up 5.1pc touching a nine-year high, after reporting forecast-beating earnings and the first dividend in six years.

French construction and concession company Vinci was also a top gainer after results reported after the market closed on Tuesday.

Its shares were up 3.8pc after it hiked its dividend and forecast higher revenue for 2017 and more traffic on its French motorways.

"With most operating metrics in Q4 improving and guidance for further growth, we see momentum as positive for Vinci into 2017," said UBS analysts in a note.

"We believe the shares offer good value."

Denmark's wind turbine producer Vestas Wind was another top gainer, leading Copenhagen's OMX 20 index after it reported a bigger-than-expected order intake.

German airline Lufthansa rose to the top of the German blue-chip index after Societe Generale upgraded the stock to "buy".

Lufthansa's Eurowings unit agreed to a mediation process with German cabin crew on Tuesday.

Spanish construction company ACS rose 3.5pc after Australian contractor Cimic Group, said it expected a strong 2017 and posted an 11.5pc rise in full-year profit.

US stocks were slightly lower on Wednesday, weighed down by losses in bank and healthcare stocks.

Oil prices fell 0.5pc as an increase in US crude inventories and a slump in Chinese demand implied that global oil markets remain oversupplied despite Opec-led efforts to cut output.

The S&P 500 financial index, which has outperformed other sectors in a post-election rally, was down 0.83pc and was on track for its third straight day of decline.

Healthcare was off 0.66pc, dragged down by Gilead.

The drugmaker's stock, which also weighed on the S&P and the Nasdaq, was down 9.3pc after the company projected disappointing sales for its hepatitis C drugs this year. (Reuters)

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