Friday 24 November 2017

ISEQ gains on hopes for debt-crisis resolution at latest EU summit


Taoiseach Enda Kenny, front row, third from left, with fellow EU leaders at the summit in Brussels (AP)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, front row, third from left, with fellow EU leaders at the summit in Brussels (AP)
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares continued their up-and-down week with a strong gain yesterday, as traders hoped the latest EU summit in Brussels might finally bring some sort of resolution to the financial crisis.

By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index had climbed 0.42pc, or 11.26 points, to close at 2,666.04. The index appeared to be heading for a bigger gain for most of the day before an afternoon sell-off brought the market back.

European leaders met in Brussels for the 14th crisis summit in 21 months to discuss Greece's second bailout, the recapitalisation of the area's banks and strengthening the €440bn European Financial Stability Facility into a more potent weapon.

In percentage terms, Providence Resources was the big winner, climbing 12.02pc to back over the €2 barrier. The oil and gas explorer finished the day at €2.05.

Sandwich-maker Greencore continued to surge a day after the company said it was in talks to be taken over by an unknown suitor, believed to be a private-equity player. The company finished up 5.88pc at 72c.

Greencore was not the only food firm to have a strong session. Glanbia added 2.7pc to reach €4.57, while Kerry Group rose marginally. Speciality baker Aryzta climbed 1.37pc.

Elsewhere, European stocks advanced on the back of the Brussels summit and after US durable-goods orders and home sales topped forecasts.

National benchmark indices climbed in 10 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 rose 0.5pc, while Germany's DAX declined 0.5pc and France's CAC 40 slipped 0.2pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 increased 0.2pc.

"Traders remain jittery and volumes stunted as the market waits for Europe's leaders to finally put a lid on the debt crisis," said Manoj Ladwa, a senior trader at ETX Capital.

He cautioned that if the outcome of the summit "is deemed inadequate, we could see a return to the volatility of three months ago".

Gold and silver advanced in London on concern that policy makers will struggle to resolve the debt crisis, spurring demand for precious metals as a safe haven. Randgold Resources advanced 2.5pc, Fresnillo climbed 4.4pc and African Barrick Gold jumped 4.9pc.

Copper producers also advanced as the base metal rose in London amid speculation that China, the top global consumer, may lower interest rates.

Antofagasta climbed 2.1pc and Kazakhmys gained 1.1pc.

Imperial Tobacco jumped 3.2pc, following two days of losses.

Next lost 2.1pc after Deutsche Bank downgraded the clothing retailer to "hold" from "buy".

On the continent, Merck advanced 8.5pc, the biggest gain since January 2009. The German drug maker reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates.

Telenor climbed 5.3pc as the largest phone company in the Nordic region boosted its outlook for full-year sales and profitability after third-quarter earnings increased.

Adidas, the world's second-biggest sporting goods maker, slid 3pc as Morgan Stanley cut its recommendation on the shares to "equal weight" from "overweight".

The brokerage said the company faced an increase in costs as it expands, while a slowdown in China was a "potential risk" to momentum.

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