Tuesday 12 December 2017

ISEQ recoups losses as economic data holds steady

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares recovered some of their losses yesterday as positive economic data combined with

bargain hunters to buoy the market.

The benchmark ISEQ Overall Index closed up 1.71pc, or 47.73 points, at 2,844.28.

The market was led by CRH, Elan, and the banks on a day when only a handful of stocks lost value. Construction giant CRH finished the day up 1.83pc, or 30c, to close on €16.72 after traders took a second look at yesterday's economic data.

Analysts said there were a number of positive news items relevant to CRH, including a proposal to increase federal highway spending by 10pc in the United States and Polish construction returning to growth for the first time this year.

Pharmaceuticals company Elan increased 5.83pc to €3.83 after reports that it had raised the price of its flagship drug, Tysabri, by nearly 19pc.

Financial stocks were buoyed by the news that the public finances were stabilising.

The latest data from the exchequer showed that the deficit had improved by about €6bn compared with the same point last year, although tax receipts were weak.

Allied Irish Bank was up 1.88pc at 82c and Bank of Ireland gained 3.93pc to close at 63c.

Around Europe it was a mixed trading day. Most European stocks gained as a decline in the US jobless rate reassured investors about the health of the world's largest economy while mining stocks were encouraged by changes to a proposed super-tax in Australia.

The US jobless rate fell to 9.5pc in June as the labour force shrank. Payrolls declined by 125,000. Employment at companies rose 83,000.

National benchmark indexes advanced in 13 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 rose 0.7pc and France's CAC 40 gained 0.3pc. Germany's DAX lost 0.4pc.

"Financial markets have endured a torrid couple of months, but the level of spill-over into the real economy looks limited," said Ian Richards, a strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland. "We think we face another reporting season characterised by a strong beat ratio, and generally markets respond to that sort of news."

"Economic data is softening but maybe not as dramatically as people had feared," said Mark Bon of Canada Life.

"We've had a negative run and once you get the news behind, it is difficult to push it a bit further."

Irish Independent

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