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Bourses edge higher as UK budget speech delivered


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

European shares edged up yesterday after minor gains in Asia as Chinese import data signalled a recovering economy, while the dollar rose before jobs numbers that could help cement expectations that US interest rates will rise next week.

Investors were also keenly watching UK chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond's first budget speech.

He said he would not be distracted from his plan to bring down what remains one of the biggest budget deficits among the world's rich nations, something he is aiming to eliminate at some point in the first half of the next decade. He said his budget was firm but fair.

Sterling was an underperformer on currency markets, down 0.3pc in early trade against the dollar, having fallen to a fresh seven-week low of $1.2158.

Below-forecast consumer spending data on Tuesday pushed the pound lower as it came after months of robust numbers and suggested the economy might be slowing.

The dollar rose 0.2pc against a basket of currencies.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index was 0.51pc higher by mid-afternoon, at 6,634.29.

Shares in Permanent TSB fell 2.3pc to €2.74. Yesterday, it reported that it made a pre-exceptional profit of €188m in 2016.

However, negative exceptional items of €414m, understood to be linked to the impact of a £2.29bn loan-book sale to the US private equity fund, Cerberus Capital Management, in November, saw PTSB swing to an overall loss.

Shares in Bank of Ireland edged 1.3pc higher to 23 cent.

Shares in exploration firm Providence Resources jumped 12.6pc to 20 cent after it secured a farm-out partner for its Frontier Licence in the Porcupine Basin.

Cairn Energy will take a 30pc interest in return for paying 45pc of the well cost.

The FTSE-100 was up 0.1pc by mid-afternoon, while Germany's DAX was 0.2pc higher. France's CAC-40 was up 0.1pc.

Adidas shares hit a record high, up 8.4pc and among the top STOXX gainers, after it increased sales and profit growth targets, having posted a 12.5pc increase in 2016 sales.

British security company G4S was another top gainer, up 7.5pc and at a 20-month high after it posted its first rise in revenue in four years and reported a cut in leverage.

British satellite company Inmarsat rose 9pc after a 9.5pc rise in earnings. Investors shrugged off the firm's cautious outlook for the next two years.

Inmarsat had seen shorting of its stock increase ahead of earnings, Markit figures showed.

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