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Fluctuations end choppy month for the markets

IT was a choppy end to a decidedly choppy month yesterday as the Dublin index bounced up and down to settle 28 points ahead for the day, leaving the Iseq 120 points shy of its January open.

The banks were once again the major focus of attention on the home front yesterday, with Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) generating particular interest following its 6.5pc fall on Thursday.

And the bancassurer came in once again among the most traded stocks on what was a generally quiet day. Having fallen almost 5pc in the morning session, IL&P rallied to close down just 0.6pc, leaving it off almost 12pc for the week.

Traders yesterday attributed the bulk of the fall to "sloppy" trades on Thursday, as two big tranches of stock were released into the market in short succession. "There was nothing intrinsically bad about IL&P this week," one said, adding that the restructuring statement issued yesterday was "well expected" by the market.

Meanwhile, AIB gained 4.8pc yesterday, going some way to cancel out losses made earlier in the week but still leaving the stock 8pc shy of its Monday open. It was a similar story over at Bank of Ireland, which gained 1.8pc yesterday but still closed the week down 7.4pc.


Market sources yesterday attributed the poor weekly performance to fresh uncertainty around Nama valuations coupled with general malaise across the European banking sector which saw Commerzbank close the week down 8pc and Royal Bank of Scotland shed 7pc.

Beyond the financials, Ryanair was one of the most traded stocks of yesterday and last week as the market geared up for Monday morning's quarterly results. The airline closed both the week and the day up about half a per cent.

Concrete giant CRH also shifted decent volumes yesterday on foot of fluctuations in the dollar but closed the day almost unchanged, while Kerry Group was another volume-performer, losing 0.6pc amid results from peers and rumours it was about to buy Newmarket Co-op.

Next week is expected to be considerably more active, with big volume expected in Tullow on Monday as it moves onto a new index.

On the broader scene, a raft of data is due out, including a manufacturing index, private-sector credit figures and new car sales, as well as Thursday's Finance Bill.

Irish Independent