Thursday 22 February 2018

ISEQ holds steady as shares retain gains after bond sale

Traders work at their desks in front of the the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange yesterday
Traders work at their desks in front of the the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange yesterday

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as stocks retained the bulk of their gains after Tuesday's bond sale.

For the day, the benchmark ISEQ Overall Index lost 0.11pc, or 3.13 points, to close at 2,854.83 as losses in major stocks CRH and Bank of Ireland (BoI) held the market back.

One of the worst percentage performers was toolmaker Oglesby and Butler, which lost 10pc to close at 36c despite last week reporting a 200pc increase in revenue. Construction giant CRH continued to struggle, dropping 0.69pc to €15.01 as it came close to falling back below the psychologically important €15 barrier while BoI dropped 0.86pc to 81c amid reports it would explore a bond sale.

Those losses were offset by agri-food company Glanbia, which jumped 2.47pc to €3.36 and bookmaker Paddy Power, which gained 3.06pc to close at €27.93. The Irish-led Swiss food company Aryzta gained 0.96pc to reach €32.20 after NCB stockbrokers increased its earnings target for the firm.

"We have increased full-year 2011 and full-year 2012 earnings per share for Aryzta by 3-4pc to reflect the planned acquisition of Tim Horton's 50pc stake in their Maidstone Bakery in Canada," said analyst Paul Meade.

Across Europe it was a mixed day, with stocks down in 13 of 18 national benchmark indexes. France's CAC 40 slid 0.4pc and Germany's DAX slipped 0.3pc. The UK's FTSE 100 declined 0.9pc. The composite Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.3pc.

"Given the season issues and the bond supply that is coming up, I think on a tactical basis there is no hurry to go into stocks," said Christian Gattiker, Zurich-based head of research at Bank Julius Baer. "For the time being there is a case for holding some cash," he said.

Energy companies led the declines as Vestas Wind Systems cut its revenue forecast and BHP Billiton made a $40bn (€31bn) hostile bid for Potash Corporation.

Vestas, the world's biggest wind-turbine maker, tumbled 23pc after the company cut its annual sales forecast to €6bn from €7bn and reported its second straight quarterly loss as a lack of financing caused customers to delay or cancel renewable-energy projects.

BHP Billiton slid 3.4pc after the company offered $130 a share for Potash. In a statement, chairman Jacques Nasser said the "certainty of a cash offer" would increase the likelihood of an acquisition. The company wouldn't need to tap shareholders to fund the bid, said chief executive Marius Kloppers.

Irish Independent

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