Friday 13 December 2019

Explorers in demand as shares soar

Thomas Molloy

IRISH shares jumped to a six-month high as shares elsewhere on the continent soared to levels not seen since 2008 amid optimism the EU will help Greece rein in Europe's biggest budget deficit.

The ISEQ Benchmark jumped 60.97 points, or 2pc, to 3,158.83 points, led higher by banks and exploration stocks.

National benchmark indexes climbed in all 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 advanced 0.6pc, while Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5pc.

Ovova was one of the biggest gainers in Dublin, rising 8.5pc to 18c after reporting that gold at one of its mines was of better quality than previously thought.

Petroneft climbed 5.4pc to 31c after saying its Russian operations were ahead of schedule.

Allied Irish Banks rose 6.7pc to €1.59 after the lender said it raised about $445m of capital by swapping notes. The country's second-biggest lender said late on Monday that it paid bond investors as little as 74pc of face value to swap old notes for higher-yielding debt.

The result was at the higher end of estimates, NCB Stockbrokers said. Bank of Ireland advanced 5.8pc to €1.32.

Fyffes slipped 0.7pc to 41.5c as finance director Tom Murphy told analysts he was "pretty happy" with how the company's melon business was performing. UTV slipped 0.9pc to €1.11 after the broadcaster said sales fell 6pc to £112m (€125m) as advertisers cut budgets.


Elsewhere in Europe, stocks rose to an 18-month high as Germany and France agreed to back International Monetary Fund aid for Greece and Britain's Legal & General Group reported earnings that topped analysts' estimates.

Legal & General surged 4.7pc after Britain's fourth-largest insurer posted a full-year profit and boosted its dividend.

"The market just wants to continue to move higher," said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin Securities in London.

"We have a very fertile backdrop for equity markets at the moment. We are getting decent corporate news flow with numbers that, in many cases, are better than expected."

Carnival rallied to a three-year high after the world's biggest cruise-line operator lifted its profit forecast. The cruise-line operator led a measure of travel and leisure shares to the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.

Others to gain included Europe's biggest gambling company, Opap, which rallied 8.7pc.

A London-based company with a strong Irish flavour, China Real Estate Opportunities, closed up 7.6pc at £3.75 after shareholder Real Estate Opportunities sold its 16pc stake ahead of a mooted listing in Singapore.

US stocks ticked higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street following gains in the industrial and technology sectors.

Irish Independent

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