Friday 23 February 2018

All eyes on US amid recovery hopes

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IRISH and European stocks advanced early yesterday but the focus was squarely on Washington and the Federal Reserve's conclusion of its two-day meeting.

Investors were watching closely to gauge whether chairman Ben Bernanke would announce an end to the US Central Bank's extraordinary stimulus measures, which would send out a clear signal that the Fed believed the world's biggest economy was back on track.

By early afternoon in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index had gained 0.3pc or 14.57 points to reach 4291.06.

It was a similar picture across Europe, while US index futures were little changed and Asian shares rose.

The leaders in the Dublin market included the banks, with Bank of Ireland rising 3.8pc to 22 cent and AIB up 1.2pc to 8c.

Insulation giant Kingspan had risen 2.4pc by early afternoon to €11.85, while Aer Lingus was up 2.1pc to €1.53.

The former flag carrier's main rival Ryanair suffered a negative first half of the day, dropping 1pc to €6.47 amid reports that it is set to announce a revamp of its website at the company's AGM tomorrow.

The other early laggards included building materials group Grafton Group, whose shares rose earlier in the week after it announced that it was moving its primary listing to London.

Its stock price was down 1pc by early afternoon to €6.85, while shipping group Irish Continental fell 2pc to €25.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.4pc to 313.32 at 12:30pm in London.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.1pc at 12.58pm, France's CAC 40 had gained 0.5pc at the same time and Germany's DAX was up 0.4pc.

"The whole environment for growth does seem to have deteriorated slightly since June when the Fed last really spoke to the market," Lucy MacDonald, chief investment officer for equities at Allianz Global Investors in London, said. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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