Sunday 18 March 2018

Irish shares continue strong run as market ignores crisis in Cyprus

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares rose sharply yet again yesterday, coming close to the 4,000 mark, as the market continued to shrug off concerns about Cyprus' future in the eurozone.

The ISEQ Overall Index closed up 35 points, or 0.9pc at 3,971 points.

The index went on a sharp upward curve from the opening bell with more than four times as many stocks in positive territory as negative. Already this week the market has gained nearly 4pc across the board and is up almost 17pc this year.

In percentage terms Datalex led the market. The travel software company posted a net profit for 2012 – its first one as a public company. Shares rose 4.3pc to 87c.

Airlines had a strong session. Ryanair continued its excellent run of late, reachting a new all-time high of €6.30 before closing at €6.16that was a gain of 1.3pc. Aer Lingus meanwhile rose 2.2pc to hit €1.38. A report from the aviation industry trade group IATA forecast industry profits will rise this year.

Construction materials giant CRH added 1.3pc to close at €17.86. The firm issued a new bond to the market that was massively oversubscribed – a sign of great confidence in the company.

Few stocks were trading lower, including Permanent TSB down 3.3pc.

Elsewhere, European stocks rose, snapping a three-day loss, as policy makers weighed options for keeping Cyprus in the euro area.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.5pc by the afternoon, while national benchmark indices advanced in all of the 18 western European markets, except Norway. The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.2pc, Germany's DAX climbed 0.9pc and France's CAC 40 jumped 1.2pc.

Cyprus is "not a really major economic issue," said Larry Fink, chief executive officer of asset management behemoth BlackRock. It's a $10bn (€7.5bn) issue. To me this is just temporary. I think Cyprus was just one of the elements that people are saying 'let me pause here'. We are going through a digestive stage right now."

Deutsche Bank paced a rebound in euro-area lenders, advancing 1.4pc in Frankfurt. The shares snapped a three-day decline even as Germany's largest bank said it raised its litigation reserves 33pc to €2.4bn.

BNP Paribas gained 1pc and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria added 1.7pc. A gauge of the euro-area's largest banks rallied 1.3pc after falling 6.8pc over the previous three sessions.

Mediaset jumped 4pc. Goldman Sachs raised its recommendation to neutral from sell, citing their recent drop. The Italian broadcaster is down 19pc since mid-January.

Irish Independent

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