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ISEQ has best day in over two-and-a-half years

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Francesca McDonagh

Francesca McDonagh

Francesca McDonagh

The ISEQ index of Irish shares had its best day in more than two-and-a-half years yesterday, rising 3.2pc and helped by good days for the two main banks.

Bank of Ireland (led by Francesca McDonagh) and AIB rose 5.04pc and 4.85pc respectively, while other heavily-weighted names like CRH, Smurfit Kappa also performed strongly.

Thursday's Exchequer returns data showing an unexpected budget surplus may have helped to boost sentiment on domestic exposure.

But macro sentiment was probably the more important fuel for yesterday's rise. A very strong jobs number in the US, and Chinese authorities' decision to cut the amount of money banks have to hold in reserve, helped fuel a rally across markets yesterday.

"On a fundamental company basis there's significant upside to a lot of the Irish companies... provided there's no messy Brexit," said Darren McKinley, senior equity analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland.

Among the few losers on the ISEQ yesterday were medical device maker Mainstay Medical, which lost 8pc.

Amryt Pharma lost 5pc despite what Davy analysts said was a positive update on a clinical trial. The company is trialling a potential treatment for epidermolysis bullosa - a rare disease that causes skin to tear as a result of the slightest friction.

Amryt said an independent trial monitor had recommended boosting the number of patients in the trial to boost its statistical significance.

Irish Independent