Saturday 16 November 2019

ISEQ closes above the 3,000 mark

Thomas Molloy

IRISH shares closed above the 3,000 mark for only the third time this year, amid signs that mergers and acquisitions are back on the agenda.

The ISEQ Overall index closed up 32.5 points, or 1.1pc, at 3005.43 points. The index last closed above 3,000 in early February and has not stayed at that level for more than a session since last June.

Among the biggest gainers was concrete maker Readymix, which jumped 8.8pc to 19c, after indicating that it may sell assets or subsidiaries.

Irish Life & Permanent closed up 5.3pc at 14c, after the company hired Deutsche Bank to advise on the sale of the company's life-assurance and investment-management unit.

IFG tacked on another 1.5pc to close at €1.67, extending last week's jump after the financial services firm said it had received an unsolicited takeover approach.

Elan extended the previous session's gains after it announced plans to sell the Athlone operations. That took the shares to €5.72, a 2.4pc gain.

United Drug jumped as much as 2.6pc during trading but fell back to close down 0.9pc at €2.32.

Shares in DCC also closed lower, down 0.3pc at €22.44, but Aminex was the biggest decliner, falling 10pc to 8c.

Elsewhere in Europe, InterContinental Hotels surged 3.9pc after reporting a 28pc jump in first-quarter profit as travel recovered in the Americas. Deutsche Post gained 1.3pc after the world's biggest carrier of air and sea freight by volume reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

The Stoxx 600 rose 0.9pc to 282.92 in London as more than six stocks climbed for every one that dropped. The gauge has gained 7.9pc from this year's low on March 16.

Per-share profit at the 234 companies that have reported results in the index since April 11 has expanded 8.8pc, with 59pc beating analysts' estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

"The good thing for Europe is not that there are not problems, but for the most part they've already been reflected in prices," said Russ Koesterich, the global chief investment strategist for the IShares said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Milan.

National benchmark indices climbed in 15 of the 18 western European markets. Germany's DAX Index advanced 1.2pc and France's CAC 40 Index added 1.1pc. The UK's FTSE 100 Index gained 1.3pc.

Three Greek banks were amongst the five best-performing stocks in the Stoxx 600 as European Central Bank executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said that allowing a euro-area member state to default or restructure its debt would be "wrong".

Danske Bank retreated 4.5pc after poor results from Ireland dented profits.

Irish Independent

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