Monday 23 April 2018

Food stocks are top gainers on a day of mixed trading

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were more or less unchanged yesterday, as poor manufacturing data hit stocks across Europe, only for losses and gains to cancel each other out in Dublin.

By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index had gained 0.06pc, or 1.73 points, to close at 2,971.30.

It was a strange day's trading with an early buying spree that saw the index top 3,010 at one point before falling back in the afternoon.

One of the biggest gainers on the day was Independent News & Media (INM), which jumped 8.65pc to 56c. The parent of the Irish Independent holds its annual general meeting tomorrow.

The food sector continued to shine, with Glanbia closing at its highest points since at least 2006. The company, which has been rising steadily in recent weeks, ended the session at €5.01 -- a gain of 2.1pc.

Kerry Group was close to a milestone itself, ending up 0.64pc at €29.99.

It was another mixed day in the financial sector. Bank of Ireland regained some of the losses it sustained on Tuesday to close up 7.58pc at 14c.

Allied Irish Bank gained 4.35pc to close at 19c but Irish Life & Permanent suffered another tough day, closing down 21.38pc. The stock is now worth only 9c a share.

The weak manufacturing data -- purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) weakened last month across the globe -- inevitably hit the construction sector, with CRH suffering especially. The company closed down 1.65pc at €14.89.

Those PMIs affected stock markets across western Europe.

National benchmark indexes fell in 16 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 lost 1pc, while Germany's DAX fell and France's CAC 40 each slid 1.1pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1pc.

"A lot of factors are arguing for a correction," said Chicuong Dang, an analyst at KBL Richelieu in Paris.

"Economic statistics in general aren't improving. There isn't a reason to be overly enthusiastic."

In London, Glencore International sank 3.2pc.

The European Investment Bank has barred the world's largest listed commodity trader from receiving future loans because of corporate governance concerns and a tax dispute with the Zambia Revenue Authority.

Tate & Lyle PLC surged 5pc, a four-year high, as investors speculated that there may be a bid for the company. Deutsche Bank analysts also raised their forecast for the stock.

A Tate & Lyle spokesman declined to comment on any possible bid for the company.

G4S, the security provider for London's 2012 Olympic Games, climbed 1.8pc as Banco Espirito Santo rated the stock "buy", citing a recovery in developed markets.

"International acquisitions and the potential for cyclical recovery in cash management would present additional catalysts for growth and sentiment," said the firm.

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