Heavyweights lose ground as ISEQ falls for third day running
IRISH shares fell for a third day, dragged lower by heavy weights such as building materials company CRH which slipped after Morgan Stanley said any earnings recovery has been priced into the shares.
The benchmark ISEQ Overall index fell 19.75 points, or 0.7pc, to 2,955.12 points. CRH, which is the ISEQ's biggest constituent, closed down 1.4pc to €15.56 after Morgan Stanley said a recovery is already priced in.
Cider maker C&C fell 1.4pc at €3.55 after saying it does not see any pick-up in consumer demand in the next 12 months.
Pre-tax profits before exceptionals rose to €91.1m for the 12 months to the end of February from €67.6m in the previous 12 months.
Ormonde Mining soared 6.4pc to 13c after being included in the MSCI index earlier this week. Petroceltic jumped 9.8pc after saying on Tuesday that it has hired a second rig for exploration in Algeria.
National benchmark indexes gained in 12 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. The UK's FTSE 100 rallied 1.1pc and Germany's DAX advanced 0.7pc. Portugal's PSI-20 fell 0.4pc and Greece's ASE dropped 1.4pc as European Central Bank officials today ruled out a Greek debt restructuring.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3pc at the close in London. The measure, which fell for the previous four days, is still down 4.5pc from this year's high on February 17 as a sell-off in commodities and concern the debt crisis will derail the economic recovery overshadowed company profits and government stimulus measures.
"Equities will continue to grind higher, but there will be pockets of volatility with geopolitical news flow," said Kevin Lilley, a London-based fund manager who helps oversee about $2bn at Royal London Asset Management.
"Companies have got strong balance sheets and policy stimulus will only get removed when it's clear that there is sufficient growth."
UK-based Land Securities surged the most in almost two years after Britain's largest real-estate investment trust reported earnings that topped estimates.
Antofagasta, the copper producer controlled by Chile's Luksic family, climbed as copper jumped as base metals advanced on the London Metal Exchange.
Kazakhmys, Kazakhstan's biggest copper company, and Vedanta Resources also rose.
US stocks were also lifted by energy and materials shares in early afternoon trading as commodity prices rebounded before the Federal Reserve's release of its assessment of the economy later in the session.
Recent soft economic data has put investors on the defensive, increasing uneasiness about the recovery's strength and sending the benchmark S&P 500 down 2.1pc for the month.
Data on Tuesday showed weakness in factory output and housing starts.
Dell's shares jumped 5pc after the PC manufacturer reported profits late on Tuesday that exceeded expectations. The company also raised its fiscal 2012 outlook for operating income.