Saturday 16 December 2017

Calm after storm as shares remain largely unchanged

Ryanair fell 5.53pc to €3.79. Photo: Bloomberg News
Ryanair fell 5.53pc to €3.79. Photo: Bloomberg News

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were essentially unchanged yesterday, as losses in Ryanair and the banks were offset by gains in a number of small caps as well as Kingspan and Greencore.

The ISEQ Overall Index closed up 0.07pc, or 1.92 points, at 2,796.96 as traders took a breath after a period of extreme volatility.

Homebuilder Kingspan gained 1.91pc to close at €5.95 after its UK peer Galliford Try said it expected its full-year results to be at the upper end of guidance it had previously given.

That guidance also affected Grafton Group, which rose marginally to €2.91. Meanwhile, Sandwich maker Greencore grabbed 4.02pc to close at €1.17. It joined other food stocks Fyffes, which increased 1.52pc to 34c, and Kerry Group, which improved 0.43pc to €25.65.

On the other side of the board, Ryanair fell 5.53pc to €3.79. That was expected, as yesterday was the ex-dividend date for the company.

Allied Irish Banks dropped 3.61pc to 72c. Irish Life & Permanent slipped 1.33pc to €1.63. Agri-foods business Donegal Creameries fell back after profit taking, dropping 3.95pc to €3.65.

The ISEQ was one of only three benchmark indexes that posted gains in Western Europe yesterday.

The UK's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX lost 0.2pc while France's CAC 40 dropped 0.5pc on the back of profit taking and poor unemployment data from the UK. The composite Stoxx 600 lost 0.3pc.

"Investors are finding it very difficult to hold positions for more than a short period," said Edinburgh-based Bill Dinning, head of strategy at Aegon Asset Management.

"The data are mixed so the outlook is quite often murky; as such, there is not much conviction in the market."

In London, UK jobless claims unexpectedly increased in August for the first time in seven months, a sign the economic recovery may be faltering just as the government starts the biggest programme of cost cuts since World War Two.

BP declined 2.7pc amid press reports that the oil giant failed to regularly train off-shore operators in how to react to an oil spill at four of five North Sea oil rigs inspected in 2009. AstraZeneca slipped 1.1pc after the drug maker said the US Food and Drug Administration will take three months longer than expected to decide if the company can sell its Brilinta blood-thinning treatment.

Next jumped 6.7pc after the retailer reported strong results for the first half of the year.

In Paris, Peugeot Citroen rallied 3.9pc after Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation for the car maker from 'underweight' to 'overweight' and lifted its price estimate. Rival Renault gained 1.8pc, following a rally by partner Nissan after the Japanese government weakened the yen, raising earnings prospects for exporters.

Irish Independent

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