Sunday 19 January 2020

ISEQ bucks Europe-wide trend to eke its way out of the red

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

30 million

BoI shares that changed hands yesterday

The ISEQ Overall Index bucked a wider downward European trading trend yesterday as it managed to eke its way into positive territory by the end of the session after having spent much of it in the red.

Investors across the UK and on the continent were spooked by figures from the US that showed growth could be slowing there. Its gross domestic product (GDP) rose at an annualised 2.4pc rate in the last quarter, less than had been expected. The gauge has still climbed 4.9pc in July, its first monthly gain since March.

"It's a pretty weak GDP number," said Manoj Ladwa, a London-based senior trader at ETX Capital. "Everyone is looking toward the US for growth and it's not forthcoming."

The ISEQ ended the day up just 4.6 points at 2,915.36. Bank of Ireland stock was the busiest in volume terms yesterday in Dublin, with nearly 30 million shares changing hands. The stock climbed 4.1pc, or over 3 cent, to 85.3 cent after ratings agency Fitch said on Thursday that the bank may return to a normal performance faster than Allied Irish Banks. The Central Bank also raised its forecast yesterday for Ireland's GDP growth in the current year.

Shares in AIB, which releases interim results on Wednesday, were unchanged yesterday at 94 cent.

Building materials firm CRH closed down 23 cent, or 1.4pc to €16.03.

Rival Lafarge cut its outlook for demand, and said it expects volumes in its markets to increase 3pc at best, less than a previous forecast for an increase of as much as 5pc. The company, whose shares fell 3.9pc yesterday, also reported a 15pc drop in second-quarter profit to €329m.

National benchmark indices fell in 15 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. The UK's FTSE-100 slid 1.1pc as a report showed consumer confidence fell more than forecast in July as the prospect of government spending cuts undermined optimism. France's CAC-40 retreated 0.2pc, while Germany's DAX gained 0.2pc.

Alcatel-Lucent rallied 11pc to €2.30 after France's biggest telecommunications equipment maker confirmed full-year growth targets. The company reported an adjusted operating profit of €28m, reversing a €62m loss in the previous year.

Shares in Ireland-domiciled pharmaceutical firm Shire slid 2.4pc to £14.55 after broker Sanford C Bernstein & Co lowered its recommendation for the drugmaker to "market perform" from "outperform". (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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