Business World

Thursday 24 May 2018

ISEQ up as bank debt plan gets nod

Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

THE ISEQ Overall Index rose by 0.46pc, or 14.71 points, to 3,189 yesterday after Europe confirmed that a plan to reschedule Irish bank debt would be available by October.

The big growth stock of the day was the pharmaceutical company ICON, which soared 13.1pc to €19.80 following encouraging upgrades to its rating by analysts including ISI, Lazard Capital and William Blair.

ICON recently undertook a share buy-back and is due to release its latest trading figures later this month.

Expectations are high given that ICON will benefit from the expected downsizing in the big pharma companies, with many of the leading drugs produced in Ireland and Britain coming off patent.

Among yesterday's losers was the insulation building materials outfit Kingspan, which took a substantial knock, losing 3.23pc to €6.45 as shareholders reacted to bad news from the UK-based insulation, roofing and specialist company SIG plc.

It has just reported a significant softening of demand in its first half figures: namely a 4pc decline in sales.

In contrast, other less specialised construction shares did well, with Grafton Group rising 1.2pc to €2.77 and investor's staple CRH adding 0.8pc to €14.93.

Takeover

Aer Lingus rose 0.94pc to €1.07 as it followed news of a rise in June traffic with details of a new plan to launch internal flights in the UK -- clearly throwing down the gauntlet to Ryanair's hostile takeover attempt. But Ryanair almost matched its rival yesterday with a 0.9pc lift to €4.09.

In the food sector, Donegal Creameries, which has seen growth in its produce division and has been acquiring earlier in the year, saw its shares hike up 5.9pc to €3.60.

Glanbia traded mainly flat at around the €6 mark, while Kerry Group lifted by 0.85pc to €35.71.

This coincided with food commodity bets becoming sharply bullish in the US in particular, as prospects for this year's American corn harvest dramatically worsened under drought and China announced firmer intentions of growth measures.

Meanwhile, the oil market remains unsettled, with further uncertainty over the true effects of US-Iran sanctions as Norway's government moved to head off the biggest oil strike there in decades, causing Brent crude futures for August to drop by 2.1pc. Providence lost a percent to €7.60 but Dragon gained 0.69pc to €7.20.

The Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.84pc. In London the FTSE 100 added 0.65pc. The Frankfurt DAX 30 lifted by 0.79pc and in Paris the French CAC 40 rose 0.59pc.

Irish Independent

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