Boost for ISEQ after buoyant economic data lifts bank stock
Irish shares advanced yesterday, in line with other European markets, as investors greeted buoyant economic data on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Iseq Overall Index rose 0.5pc to 3,087.92 points.
Banks were in the vanguard of advancing stocks as investors piled increasingly into hopes that both Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland will be able to carry out successful rights issues over the coming months.
AIB jumped 7pc to €1.61, bringing its rally over the first three trading days of the year to 33pc; BoI soared 10.3pc to €1.69, bringing its three-day surge to 25pc.
Grafton added 1.9pc to €3.20 after the building supplies group and DIY retailer reporting a stabilisation of turnover and a turnaround in its main British market.
"Grafton's (statement) is reasonably encouraging as group revenues, as expected, continue to show signs of stabilising," said Davy analyst Flor O'Donoghue.
Glanbia was also in demand, rising 1.4pc to €2.89, as the milk and cheese producer said its profits may increase as much as 8pc this year as economies recover and demand for its dairy products improves.
But CRH lost 2.5pc to €18.29 as investors continued to digest the building materials firm's cautious 2010 outlook, issued yesterday.
National benchmark indexes rose in 10 of the 14 western European markets that were open yesterday. The UK's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 added 0.1pc, while Germany's DAX was little changed. Markets in Austria, Finland, Sweden and Greece were closed for holidays.
Stocks were boosted by a report showing service industries in the US expanded in December for the third time in four months. In Europe, new data showed the services and manufacturing industries grew at the fastest pace in more than two years in December, indicating the eurozone economy is gathering strength.
Basic-resource companies gained as copper surged to a 16-month high. Rio Tinto added 2.6pc and Xstrata rallied 3.5pc.
Peugeot climbed 6.4pc after BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the shares to "buy" from "neutral."
Porsche, the maker of the 911 sports car, added 2pc after being raised to "outperform" from "market perform" at Sanford C Bernstein.
Marks & Spencer sank 6.8pc. The retailer said revenue at stores open at least a year rose 0.8pc in the fiscal third quarter ended December 26.
Tesco slid 2pc and Home Retail dropped 2.2pc. UK consumer confidence fell in December by the most since November 2008 as expectations for the economy deteriorated. (Additional reporting, Bloomberg)