| 16.3°C Dublin

CRH rises amid reports of successful merger


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Reuters

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Reuters


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Reuters

Shares on the Irish Stock Exchange rose yesterday afternoon. CRH jumped almost 5pc amid optimism that a merger between two rivals will go ahead.

The ISEQ Overall Index was up just over 1pc to 6,071.65 points yesterday afternoon.

This pared the 2pc decline seen on St Patrick's Day.

Buildings materials group CRH enjoyed the biggest gains, soaring 4.84pc to €24.59 by mid-afternoon after Reuters reported that rival building companies Lafarge and Holcim, who are set to sell CRH €6.5bn worth of assets, could save their troubled merger.

Insurance giant FBD suffered the biggest drop by mid-afternoon, falling 5.2pc to €9.86. The decline was a return to form for the company which has fallen solidly in recent months following a series of profit warnings.

Shares in dairy and ingredients firm Glanbia dropped by 1pc to €17.11 as the biggest shareholder, Glanbia Co-Op, said it plans to sell some of its stake.

Other laggards included Dalata, down just over 4pc to €3.55, and Paddy Power which fell by 1.4pc to €77.70.

On the other side of the board, Dragon Oil rose following Tuesday's takeover bid from Emirates National Oil. The shares were up 4.6pc to €8.34 by mid afternoon.

Elsewhere, European stocks climbed. UK shares made gains after Chancellor George Osborne's budget speech and Swedish equities jumped after the central bank cut rates. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2pc to 398.18 in London.

The UK's FTSE 100 Index climbed 1.2pc as Mr Osborne raised forecasts on Britain's economic growth for 2015 and 2016.

The OMX Stockholm 30 Index jumped 1.7pc as Sweden's central bank cut its key interest rate and expanded a quantitative-easing programme.

"European stocks are still the place to be," said Steven Santos, a broker at X-Trade Brokers in Lisbon.

"There has been some selling pressure on carmakers lately as investors take profits before the Fed."

Car manufacturers posted the worst drop among 19 industry groups, with BMW falling 3.7pc after forecasting slower earnings growth in 2015.

All eyes were on the US Federal Reserve ahead of yesterday evening's press conference where Fed officials were expected to lay the groundwork for its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade.

Fed chairwoman Janet Yellenmay was expected to signal an initial rate hike could come as early as June.

The latest policy statement was scheduled to be released after European markets closed yesterday evening.

Indo Business