Business World

Sunday 18 February 2018

Gains push ISEQ above 3000 mark

Ryanair closed up 2.7pc at €3.64. Photo: Bloomberg News
Ryanair closed up 2.7pc at €3.64. Photo: Bloomberg News

Thomas Molloy

IRISH stocks gained for a fourth day, pushing the benchmark ISEQ Overall Index above the 3000 mark for the first time since May 18.

The index closed up 42.87 points, or 1.4pc, at 3034.73 as First Derivatives soared 16.1pc to €3.60 despite going ex-dividend. Origin jumped 7pc to €2.29 after the Gartmore Irish Growth Fund said it now owned 5.1pc of the food company.

Cement-Roadstone Holdings (CRH) was up 2.7pc at €19.07 after its rating was raised to "buy" from "add" at Goodbody Stockbrokers, partly due to the impact of currency changes.

"Exchange rate movements are going to be a significant tailwind for CRH this year," Goodbody said yesterday.

Smurfit Kappa advanced 1.9pc to €6.50 as Bloxham Stockbrokers started coverage of the paper maker with a price target of €8.20 per share. Smurfit was in a "strong position" to benefit from containerboard and box price increases, said analyst Paraic Quinn at Bloxham.

Ryanair was another gainer, closing up 2.7pc at €3.64 after it carried 6.44 million passengers in May, an increase of 17pc from the same month last year. The load factor, or percentage of seats filled, was steady at 81pc.

European stocks also rose for a fourth day, the longest stretch of gains in three months, on speculation the economic recovery is broadening.


"We have a positive attitude about the economy," said Pierre-Alexis Dumont, a fund manager at OFI Asset Management in Paris. "If the economy rebounds elsewhere, it will have an impact on Europe. Investors have been too alarmed regarding the eurozone. This is a buying opportunity."

The Stoxx 600's decline has left the benchmark gauge for European shares trading at less than 15 times the reported earnings of its companies, near the cheapest valuation since 2008, according to Bloomberg data.

National benchmark indexes rallied in all of the 17 western European markets that were open yesterday. The UK's FTSE 100 rose 1.4pc and Germany's DAX gained 1.6pc, while France's CAC 40 jumped 2pc.

Energy shares rallied 2.2pc for the biggest gain among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 as crude oil gained for a second day in New York. Fugro, the world's largest deepwater surveyor of oil and gas fields, and Petroleum Geo-Services surged more than 4.5pc as investors speculated this week's drop in energy shares overshot risks from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP closed up 0.6pc, rebounding from a three-day 17pc slide caused by the biggest oil spill in US history. The shares pared an earlier gain of as much as 4.7pc after Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service downgraded the company's credit ratings on concern that the cost of cleaning up the leak will hurt its balance sheet.

Irish Independent

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