Business World

Monday 21 May 2018

Little activity but food sector thrives

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday as equity traders grappled with the results of the election in Greece and what they mean for the future of the single currency.

By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index had added 0.1pc, or 2.56 points, to close at 3,072.14. It was a day of little activity, with trading volume well down on the previous week.

Few stocks made significant moves but the food and agri sector continued to thrive.

In percentage terms, Total Produce was the big winner, adding 6pc to close at 41c. The fruit company is up nearly 6pc in the last year.

Glanbia jumped 5.35pc to €5.45 while Kerry Group rose 1.41pc to reach €35.25. A delegation from Kerry will be taking part in an analysts' conference in Paris today and tomorrow.

Origin Enterprises rebounded from a hefty loss last week to close up 1.79pc at €3.30. An investment firm sold some 1.7m shares in the company on Thursday, hitting the share price hard.

Refreshingly, there were no moves of note on the other side of the board. Rare earths miner Kenmare Resources lost 3.92pc to close at 54c, while CRH fell 0.43pc to end at €14.06.

Elsewhere, European stocks were flat as the yield on Spain's benchmark 10-year bond climbed above 7pc, amid fading optimism that Greece's election will calm the euro area's sovereign debt crisis.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1pc while national benchmark indices declined in 10 of the 18 western-European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 Index added 0.2pc, while Germany's DAX increased 0.3pc. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.7pc.

"The Greek election hasn't changed many things," said Stanislas de Bailliencourt, a fund manager at Sycomore Asset Management in Paris. "Difficulties remain and it's going to be a long process. Spanish bond yields continue to rise. There isn't a lot of investor appetite for this type of risk. The market remains nervous."

In Greece, the New Democracy and Pasok parties won enough seats to form a majority in parliament, easing concern that voters would reject the austerity measures needed to qualify for international aid.

That was not enough to reduce fears about Spain however, and its 10-year government bond yield rose as much as 41 basis points to 7.29pc, the most since the country started using the euro in 1999.

Burberry, the UK's largest luxury-goods maker, rallied 2.9pc. PPR, the owner of the Gucci brand, climbed 1.1pc.

Swatch Group, the world's biggest watchmaker, added 2.3pc. Berenberg Bank initiated the stock with a buy recommendation.

National Bank of Greece, the country's biggest, soared 11pc as the ASE Index surged 3.6pc. Alpha Bank rallied 5.2pc.

Irish Independent

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