Wednesday 13 December 2017

ISEQ rises as rest of Europe falls

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

IRISH shares gained for the first session in three yesterday, despite declines elsewhere in Europe. Concrete giant CRH and mining company Kenmare were among the biggest gainers.

The ISEQ Overall Index advanced 13.85 points, or 0.6pc, to close at 2,447.93. Kenmare jumped 8.6pc to 49c after announcing that it had completed a series of technical deadlines at its Moma mine in Mozambique.

CRH surged 1.7pc to €11.31 amid reports that it may buy a 75pc stake in a Russian cement company from billionaire Oleg Deripaska. The deal may be valued at between €550m and €600m, a Moscow-based newspaper reported.

Irish Life & Permanent, which was kicked off the main index on Friday because it is too small, had another bad day, shedding 16.7pc to close at 3c. Allied Irish Banks jumped 9.8pc to 5c but volumes were thin. Ryanair was the only company in which more than a million shares changed hands.

AIB's fortunes contrasted with other European banks, which suffered big losses. UniCredit and Societe Generale fell more than 4pc as a gauge of banks slid to the lowest level since March 2009. Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo, the Spanish savings bank taken over by the Bank of Spain, slumped 8.4pc after posting a loss.


Those falls helped push European stocks to their lowest in more than two years. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed down 0.7pc in London after earlier climbing as much as 1pc. It has tumbled 7.1pc in three days.

National benchmark indices fell in 14 of the 18 western European markets. Germany's DAX Index slid 1pc and France's CAC 40 lost 1.1pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 climbed 1.1pc.

The Swiss Market Index surged 4.4pc after the central bank set a ceiling on the franc's exchange rate for the first time in more than three decades.

Goldman Sachs reduced its three-month forecast for the Stoxx 600 by 6pc, citing weaker economic data and political uncertainty. That is 5.4pc below yesterday's closing level.

Infineon Technologies, Europe's second-biggest chipmaker, fell 2.3pc as Fairchild Semiconductor lowered its third-quarter revenue forecast.

Sandvik, the world's biggest maker of metal-cutting tools, fell 2.5pc after the stock was cut to "underweight" at Morgan Stanley.

Swatch led a rally in Swiss equities as the central bank's ceiling on the franc's exchange rate eased concern that the currency's strength will hurt the earnings of exporters.

The world's biggest maker of watches rose 4.3pc as the Swiss currency fell as much as 8.7pc against the euro. Whitbread climbed 7.3pc as Britain's largest hotel and restaurant operator said sales growth had accelerated.

Irish Independent

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