Monday 19 March 2018

Dublin up 0.9pc on US deal hopes

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares rose yesterday, ending the year on the up, as traders hoped for a last-minute deal in the US budget talks.

By the lunchtime close in Dublin the ISEQ Overall Index had added 0.9pc, or 30.44 points, to close at 3,396.67.

On a day of little activity, the market rose steadily throughout the morning before peaking at the end of the session.

More than five times as many shares rose as fell on the day.

The climb also meant that for the year, the ISEQ posted a 17pc gain, having opened 2012 at 2,901.82.

In percentage terms, Providence Resources led the market, surging 17.9pc to close at €7.90.

It wasn't the only exploration stock to have a good day, however. Petroneft rose 9.09pc to 6c, while Dragon Oil jumped 3.67pc to €6.81. The Turkmenistan-focused explorer said it was close to announcing a distribution agreement for its oil.

Rare earths miner Kenmare Resources added 2.91pc to finish the year at 39c.

Only four stocks fell on Monday. Bank of Ireland was the only one to post a loss of note, dropping 1.72pc to close at 11c.

Elsewhere, European stocks were little changed, with the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index completing the biggest annual gain since 2009, as US lawmakers faced a midnight deadline to agree on a budget deal to prevent automatic deficit-reduction measures from coming into effect.

The Stoxx 600 added 0.1pc. Nine of the 18 western European markets including Germany and Switzerland were closed. The UK's FTSE 100 lost 0.5pc, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.6pc.

The US Senate remains locked in talks aimed at agreeing a budget and avoiding the so called "fiscal cliff" which will see a rash of spending cuts and tax rises come in automatically if no agreement is reached.

ACEA lost 2.4pc after its renewable-energy unit agreed to sell Apollo, which manages photovoltaic plants.

Bankia slipped 3.2pc, erasing its earlier gains. The lender has plunged 43pc in the last three days, after Spain said Bankia has a negative value of €4.15bn.

HSBC, Europe's largest lender, dropped 0.7pc, while Banco de Sabadell lost 2pc.

SNS Reaal, the Dutch bank and insurer struggling to meet capital demands and repay a 2008 loan, dropped 2pc. The company ignored Ernst & Young advice in 2010 that it should write down as much as €1.2bn on property finance loans, Dutch media reported.

Viscofan, a Spanish sausage-casings maker, jumped 6.8pc.

In London, Marks & Spencer, the UK's largest clothing retailer, fell 0.9pc. Andy Clarke, chief executive officer of Asda chain, said he expects 2013 to be challenging.

Premier Foods dropped 7.6pc for the biggest decline on the FTSE All-Share Index, trimming this year's gain to 94pc.

Irish Independent

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