Saturday 24 February 2018

Euro markets steady on back of payroll data from United States

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

European stock markets were mixed as they headed into the weekend, neither posting notable gains nor worrying declines.

The performance was driven by the release of better-than-expected US jobs data, with optimism quelled by concerns that the US Federal Reserve may start tapering its asset-buying programme before the end of 2013. Investors were also concerned as Standard & Poor's cut France's long-term foreign and local currency credit rating. The agency said that slower economic growth in the country may hamper efforts to improve the nation's finances.

A US Commerce Department report this week showed that the world's largest economy grew at a better-than-estimated 2.8pc annual rate in the third quarter. Data yesterday showed October payrolls increased more than forecast. The addition of 204,000 workers topped the median forecast in a survey that forecast a 120,000 rise.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index was one of the exchanges that was in the red earlier in the session, but it just managed to nudge into positive territory by the end of trading. It closed up 8.99 points, or 0.2pc, at 4,437.09.

Among the movers was ferry group Irish Continental. It added 2pc, or 52 cent, to €25.75, adding to gains made on Thursday when it said that revenue and profits increased in the three months to the end of September. It's adding new services across the Irish Sea, saying it believes the Irish economy has "turned a corner".

TVC Holdings, the investment firm that owns a big chunk of UTV, rose 3.1pc to 63 cent after UTV announced plans to launch a new TV station here.

Datalex shed 4.7pc to €1, while CRH lost 1pc to €18.29. In the UK, Grafton Group rose 1.2pc to £6.43 (€7.70), a day after it said its business in Britain is performing well.

National benchmark indices retreated in 10 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 slid 0.5pc and Germany's DAX was little changed. The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.2pc.

Luxury goods maker Richemont retreated 0.7pc after posting first-half operating profit that missed analysts' estimates. The owner of the Cartier brand said operating profit dropped to €1.37bn in the six months to September. Analysts had expected a €1.4bn profit.

IAG gained 8pc to 376.9 pence after saying third-quarter earnings more than doubled and raising its full-year outlook. The parent of British Airways and Iberia posted operating profit of €690m.

Irish Independent

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