Business World

Saturday 24 March 2018

ISEQ rallies to buck European trend

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares bucked the European trend yesterday, rising marginally and resisting losses that spread across the continent as Greek debt talks struggled on.

By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index had added 0.13pc, or 3.94 points, to close at 3,139.26.

The index had looked set to fall back for most of the day, and spent the vast majority of the session in the red before a late rally saw the market finish yesterday on a positive note.

In percentage terms, the big winner was Readymix, which soared 15.79pc to close at 22c. Shares in the firm rocketed after Cemex, which owns 60pc of the Irish company already, said it would increase its offer to take over the rest of the company.

Smurfit Kappa Group continued its run of late, adding 3.94pc to reach €6.60.

Kerry Group climbed again, to get back up to the €29 mark for a daily gain of 1.86pc. Paddy Power rose 1.4pc to €43.40.

Few stocks had a particularly bad day, although CRH lost 1.05pc to close at €15.62.

Elsewhere, European stocks dropped, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index trimming a six-month high, as Greece struggled to reach a deal with its international creditors.


National benchmark indices declined in 15 of the 18 western-European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.2pc. France's CAC 40 Index declined 0.7pc, while Germany's DAX fell less than 0.1pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.1pc.

"This week is crunch time for Greece," said Witold Bahrke, a senior strategist at PFA Pension in Copenhagen. "We can no longer completely exclude extreme scenarios such as a disorderly default or -- a bit further down the line -- an exit from the euro area."

Greece's Prime Minister Lucas Papademos struck a tentative deal with the leaders of the three parties supporting his interim government to boost economic competitiveness and extend spending cuts.

The policy makers meet today to work on the detail of plans for bank recapitalizations, ensuring the viability of pension funds and measures to reduce wage and non-wage costs to boost competitiveness.

Copper declined on the London Metal Exchange after the IMF released its growth prediction for the world's largest consumer of the metal. Vedanta, India's biggest copper producer, slid 3.1pc and Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, fell 1.1pc.

Glencore retreated 4.5pc amid reports the company may offer an 8pc premium over Xstrata's closing share price on February 1. Xstrata declined 1.7pc in London.

Societe Generale slid 2.9pc, while Credit Agricole fell 2.7pc. Julius Baer Group slipped 3.8pc in Zurich.

Irish Independent

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