Monday 18 December 2017

Little change as troika comes to town

Members of the 'Troika' team - European Commission, ECB and IMF - crossing the street from the Merrion Hotel to the Department of Finance in 2012
Members of the 'Troika' team - European Commission, ECB and IMF - crossing the street from the Merrion Hotel to the Department of Finance in 2012

Peter Flanagan and Colm Kelpie

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday as traders waited for the latest report from the troika on Ireland's compliance with the terms of its bailout.

By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index had added 0.09pc, or three points, to close at 3,244.73.

It was a mixed day, with the Dublin market lurching between gains and losses throughout the session before finally settling on a small gain.

Volume was unusually light yesterday, with only 13.67 million shares changing hands, the second lowest since last Christmas.

The EU/IMF/ECB troika begin their eighth mission to Ireland today, and will assess just how well the country is performing against its bailout targets.

Commodities companies had an especially strong day. Fastnet Oil & Gas was one of the big winners in percentage terms, rising 37.5pc to 33c. The exploration firm, which has taken on a licence in Morocco as well as having an exploration licence for offshore Ireland, has grown consistently since being formed during the summer.

Providence Resources rose 2.9pc to €8.70, while miner Kenmare Resources added 3.7pc to reach 47c. The miner recovered from a sell-off on Friday after analysts at Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the stock from 'neutral' to 'buy'.

Gold

Ormonde Mining surged 12.5pc after a joint venture it is involved in Spain had seen encouraging data in an area where it is searching for gold.

The banks endured a tough day. Permanent TSB fell 3.9pc to 3c after it was revealed that it was seeking tenders to manage some €2bn of its loan book. AIB slid 1.8pc to 5c while Bank of Ireland was unchanged.

Elsewhere, European stocks climbed amid an increase in mergers-and-acquisition activity and as a US report showed retail sales rose more than forecast in September.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.5pc, while national benchmark indices gained in 15 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 rose 0.2pc, France's CAC 40 climbed 0.9pc, while Germany's DAX advanced 0.4pc.

"We have been in a bit of a phase of consolidation; the question is 'do you buy into that?', and I think you do," said Giles Keating, head of research for private banking and asset management at Credit Suisse Group.

US data showed retail sales climbed 1.1pc in September, beating the median economist forecast for a 0.8pc gain.

Rentokil climbed 2pc after weekend reports that the company may sell or close its City Link parcel-delivery unit.

Total added 1pc after France's largest oil company said the European refining margin rose in the third quarter.

Irish Independent

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