Business World

Saturday 16 December 2017

Irish shares boosted by positive earnings from several US firms

Aer Lingus closed up 1.82pc at 84c. Photo: Getty Images
Aer Lingus closed up 1.82pc at 84c. Photo: Getty Images

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares rose slightly yesterday, as traders joined dealers around the world in a broad-based buying spree.

By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.51pc, or 14.96 points, at 2,937.29. The index lurched into a gain from the opening and stayed there all day, bolstered by positive earnings from a number of companies in the US and here.

As has been the case recently, a gain by CRH pushed the market into an overall win for the session. The construction giant added 1.9pc to close at €15.83 amid improving sentiment among investors despite S&P's downgrade of the outlook on US debt earlier in the week. The US remains a key market for CRH.

Other construction stocks climbed in CRH's wake, with Grafton Group (0.87pc) and Kingspan (0.53pc) both posting small gains.

Colm McCarthy's report on the sale of various state assets did not have a huge effect on the markets but Aer Lingus rose after the report recommended the Government sell its stake in the national carrier. Aer Lingus closed up 1.82pc at 84c.


Commodities markets had another strong day, as gold passed $1,500 an ounce while oil hovered at $111 in New York. Oil and gas explorer Petroneft climbed 4.75pc to 65c while Providence Resources rose 3.33pc. Conroy Gold was the big winner in percentage terms, the miner surged by nearly a third.

Foodstocks had a mixed day, with higher input costs remaining a concern. Kerry Group, Glanbia and Aryzta all fell. Around Europe, national benchmark indices climbed in every western European market except Greece and Luxembourg. The UK's FTSE 100 Index gained 2.1pc, Germany's DAX Index rallied 3pc and France's CAC 40 Index rose 2.5pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 rallied 1.7pc.

"We continue to believe that the general trend of the stock market will be higher," said Kully Samra, who manages UK-based clients for Charles Schwab.

Of the 30 companies in the Stoxx 600 that have reported earnings since April 11, 20 have beaten estimates for per-share profit. Fiat jumped 4.6pc as the owner of Ferrari posted first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes and one-off items of €251m.

L'Oreal gained 3.2pc after the cosmetics maker reported first-quarter sales growth that beat analysts' estimates.

Bic surged 6.9pc. The world's biggest maker of disposable pens reported an increase in first-quarter net income to €53.9m from a year earlier.

HSBC climbed 1.8pc as Morgan Stanley advised buying the shares of Europe's largest bank. HSBC was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal weight" at Morgan Stanley.

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