Business World

Monday 18 December 2017

Dollar rises as markets buoyed by strong US job figures

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

SHARES in Dublin ended down yesterday, bucking a trend that saw much of Europe and the US boosted by unexpectedly strong US jobs news.

The ISEQ index closed down less than 3 points at 3,825.

Bank of Ireland was the most active name traded, ending the session up 7.53pc to 16 cents each.

The partially state-owned bank redeemed a €200m slice of a €2.5bn bond on the markets, it said yesterday.

AIB shares were also up, rising 6.25pc to 7 cents a piece.

Shares in Aer Lingus fell 1.9pc to €1.28 after the company published its annual report yesterday, though much of the information was already in the public domain.

Foods sector companies have come down from recent all-time highs, with shares in Kerry down 0.89pc to €42.54 while Glanbia dropped 4.7pc to €8.45.

Another name hovering close to an all-time high is Paddy Power, and its shares were unchanged at €66.20 yesterday.

Elsewhere equity markets rallied and the dollar strengthened after an unexpectedly sharp gain in US employment in February boosted investor sentiment.

The big moves were on Wall Street where the Dow Jones index hit a record high for the fourth day in a row.

In currency markets the dollar rose to its highest rate in three-and-a-half years against Japan's yen.

The US currency is at its strongest level against the euro in three months at $1.2989.

That came after "non-farm payrolls" showed a surge of 236,000 in the number of US jobs in February, beating economists' expectations for a gain of 160,000. In late trading, the Dow Jones was up 0.37pc, at 14,389. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.3pc

The rally even lifted hard- pressed Italian stocks.

In Milan Italy's FTSE MIB benchmark index and Spain's IBEX were Europe's biggest gainers.

US Government bonds pared some early losses. In a sign of investor confidence, prices for ultra-safe benchmark 10-year notes dropped after the jobs data.

Against the yen the dollar climbed as high as 96.54 yen, the highest since August 2009. It was last at 96.00 yen, up 1.26pc in its biggest one-day gain since February 11.

Brent crude futures fell below $110 a barrel. Brent ended the week down for the fourth consecutive week, its longest weekly losing streak since May 2012.

Irish Independent

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