Tuesday 24 April 2018

Irish shares take dip as markets keep eye on Cyprus

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares fell yesterday as nervous markets continued to wait for a resolution of the Cypriot crisis.

By the close in Dublin the ISEQ Overall Index had lost 0.15pc, or 5.87 points, to close at 3,925.54, just off recent highs.

Despite the second loss in a row, the benchmark still comfortably posted a gain on the week, having opened on Monday at 3,838. Many of the blue chip stocks endured a difficult day. Construction materials giant CRH dipped 1.5pc to €17.23.

Other construction-focused businesses had an equally rough day. Kingspan dipped 1.1pc to €9.65.

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa slid 0.6pc to €12.25, while speciality baker Aryzta lost 0.6pc as well, ending yesterday at €43.70.

Almost as many companies climbed as fell. Aer Lingus surged 5.2pc to €1.43. The former flag carrier has risen sharply in recent weeks on speculation that it may return cash to shareholders.

Kerry Group added 0.9pc to hit €44.76. Ratings agency Moody's Investor Services initiated coverage of the food group and assigned a Baa2 issuer rating.

The Cyprus effect was similar elsewhere, with European stocks little changed.

The Stoxx 600 slipped 0.2pc, and national benchmark indices declined in 11 of the 18 western European markets.

France's CAC 40 lost 0.1pc, Germany's DAX slipped 0.3pc, while the UK's FTSE increased 0.1pc.

Euro area finance ministers expect a proposal from Cyprus "as rapidly as possible" to raise the €5.8bn needed to trigger the emergency loans. Analysts expect some sort of deal before markets open on Monday.

"We're waiting to see what will happen with Cyprus," said Arnaud Scarpaci, a fund manager at Montaigne Capital in Paris. "We think a solution will be found."

AstraZeneca advanced 3.3pc, its highest price since October 2010. The UK's second-biggest drugmaker gained credibility on plans to reshape R&D and return to growth, Morgan Stanley analyst Peter Verdult wrote in a note following yesterday's investor meeting.

BP rose 1.9pc. The oil company will buy back $8bn (€6bn) of shares from investors after completing the sale of 50pc of Russian oil producer TNK-BP.

Luxury goods name Mulberry plunged 17pc. The company said lower tourist spending in London will reduce pre-tax profit for the year ending March 31.

Irish Independent

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