Business Irish

Saturday 14 December 2019

Losses and gains balance out to bring flat end to week

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as losses among the banks and CRH were outweighed by gains across a variety of sectors.

On the day, the ISEQ Overall Index finished more or less flat, closing at 2,684.25 to record a gain of 0.03pc or 0.85 points. On the week the index was down just over 1.3pc, having opened at 2,719.65 on Monday morning.

Most stocks finished marginally up, with C&C leading the way, posting a gain of 4.72pc to close at €3.33, a day after the cider maker said that it would be laying off 50 people at its plant in Clonmel.

Food and beverage stocks in general had a good day, with Kerry Group ending the day up 2.28pc at €26.45, while Total Produce and Glanbia posted marginal gains.

Oil and gas explorer Dragon Oil was another stock that had a strong day, gaining 3.41pc to reach €5.15, after announcing it had completed testing at two oil wells in the Caspian Sea.

Those gains managed to outweigh some of the major stocks, with CRH, Ryanair and the banks all having a poor end to the week. CRH fell 1.16pc to €12.31 as traders started to rein in their horns in anticipation of the US midterm elections next week, where the firm carries out much of its business.

Ryanair slumped 1.57pc to €4.13 after the Office of Fair Trading in the UK said it would investigate the competition implications of the budget carrier's holding in Aer Lingus, while the banks all fell amid speculation that they may have to pay higher fees for a state guarantee under EU plans.

Allied Irish Banks slipped 1.46pc to 34c, Bank of Ireland slipped 1.66pc to 53c and Irish Life & Permanent closed down 1.23pc at €1.52.

It was quiet across Europe, with national benchmark indexes falling in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 Index and France's CAC 40 Index were little changed, while Germany's DAX Index climbed 0.1pc. The Stoxx 600 was essentially unchanged.

"Short term, there is perhaps a small risk that financial markets have now priced in the success of quantitative easing," said Michael O'Sullivan, head of global asset allocation at Credit Suisse Private Banking. "There are some question marks as to whether it will work as well as many people think."

In London, Centrica, Britain's biggest energy supplier, gained 3pc while Drax Group added 1.4pc.

Irish Independent

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