Business World

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Gains for CRH provide boost for ISEQ as major banks post losses

Thomas Molloy

IRISH shares gained yesterday, inching up 5.74 points, or 0.2pc, closing at 3016.14 as CRH gained. The banks trimmed recent advances.

National benchmark indexes advanced in 11 of the 18 western European markets with the UK's FTSE 100 rising 0.1pc, while Germany's DAX was little changed. France's CAC 40 lost 0.2pc. Concrete maker CRH climbed 2.4pc to €17.40 following last week's results and hopes that the US will soon begin a new road-building programme that would boost demand for building materials.

Kenmare Resources jumped 14pc to 15.4c after Friday's plunge following news of heavily discounted fundraising.

Shares in Allied Irish Banks fell more than 7pc to close at €1.34, erasing some of the gains that lifted it by 40pc last week on hopes it would find investors for assets it wants to sell to raise capital. Bank of Ireland slid 4.3pc to €1.16.

Fyffes was another stock to post losses in a delayed response to disappointing news last week, closing down 4.3pc at 40c. Aer Lingus declined 1.6pc at 60c after postponing results due to be published early today. The airline blamed a vote by employees against a cost-cutting plan for the delay.


Merrion Pharmaceuticals rose 1.8pc to €3.95 after losses narrowed in 2009 and sales soared by 373pc to €6.36m.

Elsewhere in Europe, stocks were little changed as a rally by retailers offset a decline among healthcare companies. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped less than 0.1pc to 256.87, having swung between gains and losses at least 10 times.

Metro, Germany's biggest retailer, climbed 1.8pc as Morgan Stanley lifted its recommendation on the shares. Petrofac advanced 4.1pc when earnings topped analysts' estimates. AstraZeneca Plc slid 1pc after an experimental cancer treatment failed to match Roche Holding's Avastin in tests.

Genmab A/S plunged 20pc for the biggest drop in the Stoxx 600 after the Danish biotechnology company said the experimental zalutumumab cancer drug failed to improve overall survival in a late-stage trial in patients with head and neck tumours.

Forth Ports jumped 26pc after the operator of Scotland's Grangemouth container port said it rejected two takeover approaches.

Andritz gained 4.9pc to €42.90, the biggest advance in the Stoxx 600.

Deutsche Bank, UBS and JPMorgan increased their share-price estimates on the Austrian maker of machines for the paper and steel industries.

Irish Independent

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