Glanbia gives ISEQ a boost
Irish shares inched higher yesterday, defying a sell-off across the rest of Europe, as Glanbia, Irish Life & Permanent and Allied Irish Banks stood out as strong spots.
The ISEQ Overall Index added 0.2pc to end the session at 3,275.51 points.
Glanbia jumped 7.9pc to €3.40 on the back of a report in the Irish Independent that it is set to receive a bid of up to €420m from its main shareholder, Glanbia Co-op, for its Irish dairy and agricultural business. The figure is before taking account of the businesses' €70m pension deficit.
IL&P rose 4.1pc to €3.23, while AIB, up 1.7pc to €1.45, continued to glean support from a broker upgrade from Royal Bank of Scot.
Bucking the trend, Bank of Ireland dipped 1.3pc to €1.72, having outshone other financials over the past week or so.
McInerney fell 3.8pc to 12.5c. The housebuilder announced after the market closed that its managing director, Barry O'Connor, has signalled his interest in purchasing the group's Spanish business as part an overall restructuring.
Tullow Oil fell 1.7pc to €14.52 as oil prices dropped back from recent 18-month highs. National benchmark indices fell in 17 of 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX slipped 0.9pc and 0.8pc respectively, while France's CAC dropped 1.2pc.
European markets were generally hit by mounting speculation Greece may default on its debt, which has fuelled concern about the strength of the economic recovery. "We've had a better than expected run in the market and at some point the market will correct itself," David Crawford, a London-based fund manager at Octopus Investments. "Greece is an issue and the eurozone is probably not looking as attractive as the US. The economic recovery in Europe will lag behind."
The Bank of England kept the benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.5pc, while the European Central Bank left its interest rate at 1pc as the Greek financial crisis complicates its withdrawal of emergency stimulus measures. Greece's ASE Index fell 3.1pc as the cost of insuring against its sovereign bonds defaulting soared to a record high.
The yield premium of its 10-year bonds to benchmark German bunds widened to the highest since the euro was introduced in 1999 after the Greek Finance Minister was reported as saying there will be no need for additional measures to shore up the nation's finances.
BHP sank 1pc, while Rio Tinto Group fell 2.1pc as copper prices dropped in London. Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) climbed 5.5pc as the clothing retailer said first-quarter net income rose more than 40pc. (Additional reporting, Bloomberg)