Business World

Friday 23 February 2018

Investors coy after bailout deal

Thomas Molloy

THE ISEQ's benchmark index closed unchanged yesterday as investors considered the implications of the EU's and IMF's €45bn plan to bail out Greece.

The index fell during early trading but slowly erased the losses to close up an eighth of a point at 3330.92 points.

The pattern was similar elsewhere: the UK's FTSE 100 added 0.1pc while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX both closed little changed.

Among the biggest gainers in Dublin were Independent News & Media and Irish Continental Group. The publisher of this newspaper jumped 6pc to 12.4c on hopes that a relatively good beginning to the present year will herald a change in fortunes for the company. Irish Continental Group rose 3.7pc to €16.70 after Davy Stockbroker analyst Stephen Furlong said the company was in a good position to benefit from any increase in tourism or exports.

Glanbia fell 1.5pc to €3.15 amid continued uncertainty about a possible bid by farmers for the company's dairy unit. Kingspan was down 3.4pc to €7.10.

Elsewhere in Europe, shares were also little changed following concerns that levels of sovereign debt across the region may derail the economic recovery although Greek shares surged following news of the bailout agreement.


National Bank of Greece climbed 5.2pc, sending the benchmark index for Greek stocks higher. Swiss bank UBS gained 3.1pc after reporting the highest quarterly earnings in almost three years.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.1pc to 269.36, after swinging between gains and losses at least 10 times. The gauge has climbed 6.1pc in 2010.

"Greece has certainly been on everyone's minds," said David Hussey, head of European equities at MFC Global Investment Management.

Unicredit's chief strategist Thorsten Weinelt yesterday warned that the outlook for European stocks would "slowly but steadily" worsen.

"European equities are prowling in the midst of a transition period, moving from a strong uptrend towards a multi-month sideways/correction phase," the Munich-based strategist wrote in a report to clients. "Risk factors will gain an increasing influence over time."

Strategists including Societe Generale's Alain Bokobza also said the UK may be the weak spot of European markets after Greece was offered its bailout over the weekend.

Home Retail Group rallied 4.9pc after the 'Mail on Sunday' reported that Wal-Mart may be interested in making an offer for the UK company. Spokesmen for both companies declined to comment. Sainsburys climbed 2.4pc after BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research raised its recommendation for the UK's third-largest supermarket owner to "buy" from "underperform".

Irish Independent

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