Differing fortunes send 'big two' in opposite directions
THE benchmark ISEQ gained yesterday as Bank of Ireland soared after the bank issued results and said it expects to raise a "substantial" amount of new capital from private investors and avoid state control.
The ISEQ closed up 28.27 points, or 0.9pc, at 3177.72 points. That took the gains in the first quarter to 6.8pc. National benchmark indices slid in 11 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 fell by 0.3pc. Germany's DAX rose 0.2pc and the UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.1pc.
Shares in BoI rose 24pc to €1.60 as shareholders welcomed its results and the possibility that shareholders will retain a majority stake in the bank despite government help. Credit-default swaps tied to the bank's debt dropped seven basis points to 191, according to CMA DataVision, signalling an improvement in investor perceptions of its credit quality.
Shares in Allied Irish Banks, which has been given a month to arrange the sale of its foreign units, fell for a fourth day. declining 3.8pc to €1.20.
"They're not in a good position, but at least people know. Investors are looking at the clarity of what they have to do," one trader said of AIB. "For Bank of Ireland, there's a half decent underlying operating base."
House builder McInerney fell 14pc to 15c following news yesterday that it has not reached agreement with lenders about debt covenants. Glanbia slipped 4.2pc to €2.99 after it said it had changed the date of its annual meeting as well as the date the shares will pay a dividend and go ex-dividend. Ovoca Gold was up 3pc at 17c after it announced personnel changes and the continuation of mobilisation for its 2010 drilling season.
Stocks elsewhere in Europe declined, paring the Stoxx Europe 600 Index's longest streak of quarterly gains since 2007, after a private report showed US companies unexpectedly cut jobs in March and Moody's downgraded some Greek banks. The index retreated 0.1pc to 263.57. The measure has rallied 7.2pc this month and 3.8pc this quarter as the European Union agreed a contingency rescue package to help Greece cut Europe's biggest budget deficit.
Stocks reversed earlier gains after a report from ADP Employer Services spurred concern the US jobs market is not rebounding as strongly as many economists have predicted.
"There's not going to be much growth in the second half of the year and a 'double dip' scenario is still a risk," said Philippe Gijsels, a senior structured-equity strategist at Fortis Bank Global Markets in Brussels.
"We could be headed for a correction in equity markets. Most people think the situation in Greece has been contained but I don't think this is the case."