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ISEQ nudges 0.5pc ahead as European bourses continue rally

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The European Central Bank has announced it has started its stimulus programme

The European Central Bank has announced it has started its stimulus programme

The European Central Bank has announced it has started its stimulus programme

Most European stock markets managed to post gains yesterday, although the UK's FTSE-100 succumbed to shaky investor confidence as energy and mining firms slipped.

Ireland's ISEQ Overall Index also managed to end the day in the black, rising 0.64pc, or 39.33 points, to finish the week at 6,212.11.

That's a new seven-year high, and significantly higher than the 12-month low of 4,275 it was at back in October.

The overall rally in European stocks persisted as investors bet that a renewed drop in the euro would boost the region's economy and lift exporter earnings.

The euro tumbled 3pc this week against the dollar, hitting 12-year lows below $1.05 yesterday, as the European Central Bank began asset purchases that will eventually help pump €1 trillion into the economy.

The relentless slide in the euro over the past year has given a significant lift to European corporate results after years of stagnating profits. The drop in the single currency is seen translating into a 10 to 13pc lift in earnings in 2015.

"European stocks are driven by the forex market, big time," said Nicolas Cheron, a market analyst at FXCM in Paris.

Germany's DAX - which is up 21pc so far this year and trading at record highs - gained 0.9pc yesterday after a late session rally. The German index rose 3pc on the week, posting its ninth consecutive weekly gain, the longest winning streak in 17 years for the benchmark.

France's CAC 40 rose 0.5pc, while the FTSE-100 fell 0.3pc.

Shares in Independent News & Media rose 4.1pc to 17.8 cent after it posted a strong set of full-year results.

Bank of Ireland rose 2.2pc to 37.2 cent, while packaging group Smurfit Kappa added 1.9pc to €26.74. Shares in Aer Lingus closed down 2.7pc at €2.33.

Irish Independent