Friday 24 January 2020

AIB and CRH lead ISEQ gain

Thomas Molloy

IRISH stocks eked out gains yesterday, led higher by financials as AIB named a new chief financial officer and CRH -- following a report on domestic construction which suggested some signs of life.

The ISEQ closed up 12.32 points, or 0.4pc, to close at 2,902.43 as stocks across the Continent rebounded from last week's declines.

CRH gained 0.9pc to €16.97 after a survey showed conditions in the Irish construction sector last month deteriorated at the slowest pace in five months.

The survey also showed companies are optimistic that wider economic conditions will improve this year.

Allied Irish Banks gained 2.8pc to €1.12 after the bank named Bernard Byrne as finance director. Mr Byrne, who comes from the ESB, will start work with his new employer in May. Bank of Ireland gained 2.5pc to €1.22. Aer Lingus increased 1.5pc to 66.5c after the airline reported that passenger numbers rose 0.6pc to 665,000 in January compared with the same month a year earlier.

The carrier's short haul passenger numbers rose 3.8pc to 608,000 while long haul passengers fell 23pc to 57,000.

Elsewhere in Europe, shares also rose, paring last week's strong declines. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.7pc to 239.04 in late trading in London as financial and oil companies gained.

The gauge lost 3.9pc last week on concern that efforts by Greece, Spain and Portugal to reduce their budget deficits will harm the economic recovery.

"It's a technical bounce. There are still some people who are thinking that this is a good time to buy. You can't forget that a lot of people just missed the rally," Koen De Leus, economist at KBC Securities, told Reuters.

"But the market is struggling. It seems the market doesn't believe anymore that deficits in the eurozone are sustainable. All the good news is already in the market and it still can go down by 10 to 20pc," he added.

SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer, added 2.7pc while Kit Kat and Rolo manufacturer Nestle advanced 2.3pc.

Xstrata, the largest exporter of coal used for power, rose 3.5pc.

The company posted 2009 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $7.05bn, which was above the $6.67bn estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

National Bank of Greece, the country's biggest lender, tumbled 8.5pc while Eurobank, the second-largest, plummeted 9pc. Greece's ASE Index slid 3.9pc to a 10-month low.

SAP fell 2.5pc after Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker unexpectedly resigned.

The world's largest maker of business management software said its supervisory board decided not to extend Apotheker's mandate, which would have expired at the end of the year.

Irish Independent

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