Business World

Saturday 21 April 2018

ISE run of gains comes to an end

Thomas Molloy

IRISH stocks fell yesterday, burdened by heavyweights such as Ryanair, which missed analysts' forecasts. Financials enjoyed a good day here but a disastrous day elsewhere as investors fretted about the impasse between US President Barack Obama and congress.

The benchmark ISEQ Overall Index fell for the first time in five sessions, sliding 12.42 points, or 1.4pc, to 2914.96. Ryanair closed down 1.8pc at €3.40 as the no-frills airline said first-quarter earnings were little changed at €139.3m as higher fuel costs eroded gains from rising passenger numbers. That missed the average analyst estimate of €156.8m, according to a Bloomberg survey. CRH pared Friday's gains, which came as the stock was raised to buy from neutral at Nomura.

Bank of Ireland closed up 1pc at 10.2c as investors digested the news that an unidentified group of investors will buy a stake in the bank. The shares rose almost 9pc at one stage during trading before paring gains. Allied Irish closed up 8.9pc at 14c as the bank hinted it may also find investors amid signs that loan losses have peaked. Irish Life & Permanent soared 25pc to 5c.

Among the non-financial stocks to gain were Ovoca Gold, which advanced 5.9pc to 36c after announcing that it had bought more than one million of its own shares.

Elsewhere in Europe, stocks snapped a four-day rally after Mr Obama and congress failed to reach a deal to raise the US debt limit, increasing concern that the world's largest economy may default. National benchmark indexes declined in every western European market, except Germany. France's CAC 40 Index lost 0.8pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 0.2pc. Germany's DAX Index advanced 0.3pc. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.3pc in London.

"There will be a last-minute settlement to the US debt crisis," said Jeremy Batstone Carr, head of research at Charles Stanley in London. "Perhaps the reason we are not seeing a profound sell-off suggests to me that maybe some investors are actually looking to take on some risk on the assumption that the US authorities will find a solution."

Republicans and Democrats prepared duelling plans for raising the US debt ceiling, unable to break a partisan stalemate over how to tackle the nation's $14.3 trillion (€9.94tn) debt.

Banks declined across Europe after Moody's downgraded Greece's sovereign-credit rating. Banca Popolare di Milano SCARL and Intesa Sanpaolo both tumbled more than 8pc. Popolare di Milano slumped 8.3pc.

Fiat Industrial rallied 5.4pc after the truck and tractor unit, which spun off from Fiat in January, raised its 2011 forecast for earnings before interest, taxes and one-off gains to over €1.5bn.

Irish Independent

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