Business World

Saturday 24 February 2018

Employment jump in America provides catalyst for ISEQ gains

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

THE US again provided the catalyst for European stock markets, but the gains were more subdued.

Hiring in the US increased by 171,000 in October, following a revised 148,000 a month earlier, Labour Department figures showed.

That compares with the 125,000 projected by economists. Private payrolls, which exclude government jobs, rose by 184,000 last month after a revised 128,000 in September. The unemployment rate climbed to 7.9pc, however.

"The US unemployment figures were better than expected and a positive for the markets," said Gerard Lane, a strategist at Shore Capital Group in Liverpool. "If this pace of economic growth can continue and we don't see a fiscal cliff, markets may carry on going up."

But US investors were more circumspect yesterday.

They said that the upcoming presidential election and the need to balance the nation's budget will be the main drivers for near-term market performance.

In Europe, Ireland was the only member of the eurozone to record a rise in manufacturing activity in October. Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 45.4 last month from 46.1 in September. Any figure below 50 indicates contraction.

Ireland's ISEQ Overall Index managed to outpace gains posted by other European bourses. It added 0.94pc, or 30.84 points, yesterday to end the session at 3,313.04.

Bank of Ireland made further gains on the back of Thursday's rise after its CEO said it won't countenance mortgage debt forgiveness. Oil exploration group Providence Resources gained 4.3pc, or 33 cent, to close at €7.90, while shares in PetroNeft Resources, which is focused on exploration and development in the Russian market, soared almost 18pc, or 1.2 cent, to 8 cent.

Kerry Group continued to feel the pressure after it marginally cut its full-guidance this week. Its shares declined 1.6pc, or 65 cent, to €39.65.

National benchmark indices climbed in 16 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.1pc. France's CAC 40 rose 0.5pc and Germany's DAX added 0.4pc.

Germany's Beiersdorf jumped 7.2pc to €60.70, the highest price since at least January 1996, after the maker of Nivea skincare products raised its 2012 forecast for sales growth to as much as 4pc, from a previous prediction of 3pc.

Irish Independent

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