Sunday 17 December 2017

NTMA bond sale boosts ISEQ

IRISH stocks rose yesterday, bucking the European trend, with the ISEQ Overall Index closing up 52.77 points, or 1.12pc, to 4755.34.

The Index has added almost 5pc in the last five trading days, boosted by the NTMA's first bond sale since the country's bailout exit, which saw sovereign bond yields across Europe narrow.

Ormonde Mining saw the largest percentage gains of the day, rising 13pc to 7c. The Meath-headquartered exploration company was granted regional environmental approval by the Spanish government for its Barra tungsten mine, the last major regulatory obstacle it had to overcome on the project.

Merrion Pharmaceuticals rose 12.5pc to 45c while Aminex was up 5pc to 2c after the Dublin and London-listed miner told investors that a gas sales deal with the Tanzanian authorities is now largely complete and it expects it will be ready for signing shortly.

Dragon Oil shed 4pc to €6.71. The Turkmenistan-focused company said yesterday it has completed two wells since its previous quarterly update and increased its average yearly gross production by 9.1pc. Davy stockbrokers reiterated its "outperform" rating for the stock.

INM fell 3pc to 14c and Glanbia dropped 3pc to €10.66.

In Europe, stocks declined as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi warned it's too soon to say the euro region is out of danger.

Mr Draghi reiterated the ECB's pledge to keep its key interest rate at a record low of 0.25pc. "Monetary policy in the eurozone remains too tight and more action is needed from the European Central Bank," said Georgios Tsapouris, an investment strategist at Coutts in London.

"The risk is that it may take a growth scare again before the ECB moves to loosen policy."

The Bank of England also kept its benchmark rate at a record-low 0.5pc yesterday.

National benchmark indexes slipped in 10 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 lost 0.5pc, France's CAC 40 fell 0.9pc and Germany's DAX declined 0.8pc. The composite Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.4pc to 328.31 at 4:30pm in London.

SARAH MCCABE

Irish Independent

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