Business World

Sunday 16 December 2018

Bank of Ireland, Ryanair help fuel ISEQ's advance

Irish shares were up 0.75pc in afternoon trading, fuelled by strong performances at Bank of Ireland, Ryanair and Smurfit Kappa. Stock image
Irish shares were up 0.75pc in afternoon trading, fuelled by strong performances at Bank of Ireland, Ryanair and Smurfit Kappa. Stock image

Irish shares were up 0.75pc in afternoon trading, fuelled by strong performances at Bank of Ireland, Ryanair and Smurfit Kappa.

Housebuilder Abbey led the way in a week where the ESRI slashed its forecast for new builds, meaning upward pressure on property prices is set to last longer. Abbey was up almost 5.5pc at 4:14pm.

US stocks were mixed, as multinationals remained under pressure amid anxiety over trade while technology shares added to recent gains.

The S&P 500 was slightly higher after paring an early advance, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped for a seventh straight day. The Nasdaq Composite Index added to an all-time high, buoyed by tech shares perceived to be immune from any trade dust-up. European equities halted a three-day slide and Canada's stock benchmark hit a record. The pound edged higher after UK Prime Minister Theresa May won a key vote on Brexit.

A sense of calm is returning to markets after US President Donald Trump stepped up trade threats against China earlier in the week, proposing moves that economists reckon could cut as much as half a percentage point from the Asian nation's growth. Traders may well be siding with Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, who characterized the escalation in rhetoric as simply a negotiating strategy.

Elsewhere, the odds of Opec reaching an oil-production deal in Vienna this week increased as Iran edged away from a threat to veto any agreement to raise output.

After sitting down with counterparts from several countries, Iranian Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said he was optimistic about the outcome of the Opec meeting, a marked contrast to comments the previous day when he said a deal was unlikely. In public and private, ministers and other officials were more positive than they had been yesterday.

Asked whether the group would reach an accord on Friday, Opec Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said: "I'm confident."

With two days before Opec ministers formally meet in Vienna to decide on policy, delegates attempted to find a plan to boost production and ease consumer anxiety about high oil prices. The talks will shape oil prices for months, affecting anything from energy stocks to currencies of petroleum-exporting countries.

Bloomberg

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