C&C gains offset by Elan declines
IRISH stocks closed little changed yesterday as gains in C&C and Aer Lingus were offset by declines in Elan and United Drug.
The ISEQ Overall Index closed up 3.52 points, or 0.1pc, at 3103.24 -- the first time in more than a month that the benchmark closed above the 3,100 level.
Cider maker C&C closed up 2pc at €3.27 after shareholders voted to sell off a spirits unit and chief executive John Dunsmore said he plans to expand outside Ireland and the UK within five years.
Aer Lingus added 2pc to 74c ahead of its annual shareholder meeting today.
Elan tumbled 3.3pc to €4 as the 'Wall Street Journal' reported that the Irish company's multiple-sclerosis drug Tysabri faces a double threat from Novartis and rising cases of a potentially fatal brain disease. United Drug slipped 1.2pc to €2.18 after Health Minister Mary Harney said she may force people with medical cards to use cheaper generic drugs.
Elsewhere in Europe, stocks rose for a seventh day, the longest winning streak for nine months, after a Spanish bond sale eased concern about the region's debt; while BP surged, overshadowing worse-than-forecast US economic reports.
National benchmark indexes fell in 13 of 17 western European markets but rose in most of the major financial centres. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.3pc, France's CAC 40 rose 0.2pc and Germany's DAX advanced 0.5pc.
The benchmark Stoxx 600 advanced 0.2pc. The gauge has rebounded 9.8pc from its 2010 low on May 25 after concern about levels of government debt pushed the index to the cheapest level relative to earnings in more than a year.
"There is still the issue of Europe's sovereign-debt crisis but policy efforts look as if they're going in the right direction," said London-based Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin. "Volatility is going to be with us for a while."
BP rallied 6.7pc as the company scrapped dividends and pledged asset sales to meet US demands for a $20bn fund to help victims of the oil spill. The company is halting the $10bn-a-year dividend, reducing investments in drilling and selling oil and gas fields in the hope it would do enough to ensure the company's financial stability. Credit swap contracts before the announcement showed investors pricing in a 39pc risk of default within five years.
Car stocks climbed 2.3pc for the biggest gain among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Porsche jumped 5.3pc. Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, climbed 3.8pc while tyre maker Michelin rose 2.2pc.
Nokia retreated 0.8pc, extending Wednesday's 9pc selloff, as analysts from banks slashed its share price estimates and profit forecasts.