Business Irish

Saturday 15 December 2018

M&A lifts Irish names amid wider calm

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Ellie Donnelly and agencies

For anxious tech investors, there's one name that stands above all others as the two-day blitz of earnings nears its crescendo: Apple.

Quarterly earnings and a first-quarter revenue forecast due overnight from the world's largest company were set to dominate the after-hours frenzy.

The earnings arrive with the company's stock stabilising after a recent tailspin sent it down 6.7pc from an all-time high set on January 18. Analysts have been steadily slashing estimates for the company's flagship iPhone X.

At home, M&A action was a big driver of trading activity. Shares in Total Produce shot up 6.4pc yesterday after it announced a deal to take a 45pc stake in US fruit giant Dole for €240.7m.

Shares in Aryzta gained as much as 5.9pc, after the baked-goods maker said it will close the sale of its US manufacturing facility at Cloverhill near Chicago to Hostess Brands and its Cicero facility to Bimbo Bakeries.

Elsewhere, the dollar eased and global equity markets edged higher yesterday as a note of caution over rising interest rates and high stock valuations dampened investors' appetite for risk assets after a euphoric January in markets.

A fresh slide in drugmakers and a plunge in PayPal shares offset gains in Facebook, AT&T and eBay, which shot up almost 15pc.

European shares, as marked by the pan-regional STOXX 600 index, fell for a fourth day, led lower by Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk after its operating profit fell short of expectations.

Stretched valuations, an overdue pullback in stocks, and uncertainty the US federal government budget, all fed a sense of caution in the market, said Peter Kenny of Global Markets Advisory Group.

Irish Independent

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