Saturday 16 December 2017

CRH surge drives ISEQ up amid strong US jobless data

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares rose yesterday, ending the week in positive territory after encouraging data from the US eased fears about the world economy.

The ISEQ Overall Index ended the day up 2pc, or 54.93 points, at 2,799.90. The rally meant the index ended the week up nearly 5pc.

Construction giant CRH drove the market, gaining 5.24pc after an afternoon surge to close at €13.45.

That surge came on the back of strong figures on unemployment from the US. Private payrolls climbed much higher than expected in the US, where CRH does much of its business.

CRH's increase was supplemented by the banks. Irish Life and Permanent climbed 10pc on positive sentiment that stayed with the stock after it posted strong results earlier in the week.

Allied Irish Banks rose 4.61pc to 80c in anticipation of the announcement next week of who would be the preferred bidder for the bank's Polish operations, while Bank of Ireland climbed 5.3pc to 78c.

On the other side of the market, food stocks again struggled, as an extension of a Russian ban on wheat exports saw traders head for the exits.

The par-baked specialists Aryzta slipped 0.45pc to €33.35, while sandwich maker Greencore dropped 3.42pc to €1.13. Kerry group slid 1.36pc to €25.75 after being downgraded by Goldman Sachs.

The good day continued across Europe, with 15 of the 18 indexes in western Europe rising. France's CAC 40 and the UK's FTSE 100 gained 1.1pc, the German Dax rose 0.8pc, while the Stoxx 600 gained 0.9pc.

"The [US] jobs number was clearly better than expected and is welcomed by the market given the worries," said Andy Lynch, at Schroder Investment Management in London.

"It may be a short-term bounce for the market as the debt in the US economy still hasn't gone away and the recovery is still in question."

Financial stocks rallied across Europe, with Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, gaining 3.2pc and BNP Paribas, France's largest, rising 1.9pc.

Raw materials were the other big winners on the day, with Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest mining company, advancing 1.5pc. BHP Billiton, the biggest, gained 1.8pc.

In London, BAE Systems rallied 2.7pc after Europe's largest defence company was rated a 'buy' in new coverage at Redburn Partners.

Irish Independent

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