Tuesday 23 January 2018

ISEQ spared dramatic swings

AIB advanced 5.7pc to 39.6c. Photo: Bloomberg News
AIB advanced 5.7pc to 39.6c. Photo: Bloomberg News
Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

THE world may have been transfixed by Ireland's problems yesterday, but the Dublin stock exchange put in a typically pedestrian performance that reflected little of the drama witnessed elsewhere.

The ISEQ ended the session up 21.32 points, or 0.8pc, at 2,697.05 points. The benchmark dipped slightly in early morning trade before rising during the late morning and afternoon.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index, which also closed up 0.8pc, had a much more torrid session, swinging between gains and losses at least nine times as investors awaited more information on whether Ireland would seek help to deal with its debt burden.

"The market has been hijacked by this," said Win Thin, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York. "Even the G20 spent more time talking about Ireland than the global imbalances."

Irish 10-year bonds rose, driving the extra yield investors demand to hold the debt instead of German bunds to the lowest level in a week, on hopes the Government is getting closer to accepting aid to resolve its fiscal crisis.

It was a day of contrasting fortunes for the banks, with Allied Irish advancing 5.7pc to 39.6c, while Bank of Ireland slid 2.9pc to 40.7c.


CRH, whose shares are increasingly erratic, jumped 5pc to 13.05, while Petroneft's shares were down 3.5pc at 70c after shareholders nodded through a rights issue.

There was almost no reaction to news that South African investment bank Investec had taken a 5.45pc stake in Independent News & Media to become the publisher's third-biggest shareholder.

National benchmark indexes gained in all 18 western European markets.

The UK's FTSE 100 increased 0.4pc, while France's CAC 40 added 0.9pc and Germany's DAX rose 0.8pc.

Shares in Belgian bank KBC rose by as much as 4.9pc over a growing belief that Ireland or its banking sector will receive financial support in the coming days.

Concerns about KBC's exposure to Ireland, where the bank has a €17.4bn loan portfolio, grew after the the group's third-quarter results last Wednesday.

MAN surged 6.2pc after Scania, the Swedish truckmaker controlled by Volkswagen, said it was considering merging with MAN to create Europe's largest maker of commercial vehicles.

Axa gained 2.3pc after France's biggest insurer and Australian asset manager AMP bid at least $13.1bn (€9.6bn) for Axa Asia Pacific in Australia's largest financial services takeover in two years.

In early afternoon trade in New York, stocks rebounded from the biggest weekly slump in three months and the dollar gained as American retail sales exceeded forecasts.

Irish Independent

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