Monday 20 November 2017

ISEQ climbs on US highway bill and proactive noises from China

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares climbed for the second day in a row yesterday, as positive political news from the US boosted the biggest company on the Dublin market.

By the close, the ISEQ Overall Index had gained 1.3pc, or 40.1 points, to close at 3.066.23. The index started off on an upward curve that only accelerated as the trading day went on.

The closing price was also the intraday high for the index, as twice as many shares climbed as fell.

CRH was the major mover. The construction giant, which earns around half of its revenue in the US, surged 3.37pc to €14.10. A long-delayed bill to upgrade the US highway network appeared to move closer to coming into force. Any deal would be sure to generate demand for CRH products.

Aryzta surged 4.3pc to €38.59 on a day when food stocks enjoyed a particularly good session. Kerry Group rose 0.9pc to €33.80.

Pharmaceuticals firm Elan enjoyed its strongest day in a month, adding 1.07pc to reach €11.78. Analysts at the investment firm Berenberg raised Elan's target price and retained their "buy" estimate.

Berenberg's Adrian Howd said he expected Elan's Alzheimer's drug bapineuzumab to have a greater chance of reaching the market after the latest round of test results are published later this year.

Slipped

Few stocks fell yesterday, but Aer Lingus slipped back, falling 1.5pc to €1.05. Ryanair's bid of €1.30 a share for the former flag carrier is now looking less and less likely to succeed.

Elsewhere, European stocks rose the most in a week after reports on US durable-goods orders and pending home sales beat estimates and speculation mounted that China will introduce additional economic stimulus.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1.4pc, while national benchmark indices advanced in all 18 western European markets before the EU summit beginning today in Brussels. The UK's FTSE 100 climbed 1.3pc, France's CAC 40 rose 1.4pc and Germany's DAX Index gained 1.3pc.

"Today's move all boils down to the news related to the world's two largest economies" said Keith Bowman, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers in London. "Positive economic data from the US and rumours of further stimulus from Chinese authorities is enough to lift the markets out of the doldrums."

In China, a commentary in the 'China Securities Journal' said the country may introduce "more proactive" policies to ensure stable growth.

Commodities firm Glencore fell 1.5pc in London to its lowest level since it went public 14 months ago as the company was fined for bribing an official and amid fears its £6.9bn bid for Xstrata may fail.

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