Europe-wide gains as economic confidence rises more than forecast
Irish stocks rose marginally yesterday, rounding off a week of modest gains. The ISEQ Overall Index was up 8.52 points, or 0.17pc, to 4,976.87. The index added 1.26pc in the last five trading days, though it's still down 4pc so far this month.
Permanent TSB saw the biggest percentage gains of the day, adding 7pc to 11c. The lender's 2013 accounts, released earlier this week, showed annual post-tax losses had narrowed to €261m from €996m the year before. The group as a whole expects to return to profitability in 2017, chief executive Jermey Masding said.
The country's other listed banks both rose too, with Bank of Ireland up 3pc and AIB adding 2pc to 29c and 14c respectively.
Fyffes rose 6pc to €1.34 following media speculation that competitor Dole is in talks with banana company Banacol.
Industry consolidation will benefit big players like ChiquitaFyffes, Davy stockbrokers said, because it would rebalance buying power between the large supermarket chains and global banana suppliers.
UTV Media saw the biggest losses, shedding 3pc to €2.90. Smurfit Kappa lost 5pc to €17.80, while Datalex dropped 4pc to €1.32.
In Europe, stocks advanced extending a weekly gain, as a measure of euro-area economic confidence rose in March more than forecast and Italian banks rallied following a government-debt sale.
"The confidence data show good numbers indeed," said Swedish asset manager Espen Furnes. "The continuing recovery in the eurozone is key for the stock market throughout 2014. I'm pretty confident about the pace and power of the rebound."
National benchmark indexes rose in all of the western European markets except Iceland. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.4pc and France's CAC 40 climbed 0.7pc, while Germany's DAX jumped 1.4pc.
The composite Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.7pc to 333.61 in London, extending this week's advance to 1.7pc.
In Italy, the country's second largest bank Intesa Sanpaolo added 3.8pc as it forecast dividend payouts of about €10bn through 2017. Italian lenders as a group advanced after borrowing costs fell at a sale of five- and 10-year government debt.
In the UK, Resolution and Aviva led insurers lower after Britain's financial regulator said it plans to conduct an inquiry into possibly unfair charges on life-insurance policies.