Wednesday 20 November 2019

Oil companies enjoy boost as long weekend beckons

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as strong US economic data offset concerns about weak earnings from many companies in Europe and America.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was less than two points higher at 3,241.84.

Trading was relatively light heading into the long weekend with just under 25 million shares trading hands. For the week, the index barely broke even, closing only 1.6 points higher than it had opened on Monday.

There was little direction in the market for most of yesterday's session as few stocks made significant moves either way.

In percentage terms, the leading firm was Petroneft, which jumped 14.3pc. The company rebounded after putting through a placement of shares at 5p a share on Thursday.

Oil companies in general enjoyed a good Friday. Petroceltic climbed 7.5pc to 9c, while Fastnet Oil & Gas continued its good form of late, jumping 5.3pc to 34c. The company said on Wednesday it had signed a deal with a geophysical services company to reprocess seismic data across the group's licence in the Mizen Basin off the south coast.

The food sector had a reasonable day, with Kerry Group adding 1.6pc to reach €41.25, while Aryzta added 1.1pc to hit €38.50.

On the other side of the board, Providence Resources fell 4.1pc to €7.90 after Numis Securities cut its rating on the company from "buy" to "hold".

Aer Lingus lost 5.5pc to reach €1.04. Talks between the airline and unions broke down on Thursday night, raising the chance of industrial action at the airline. Elsewhere, European stocks rose yesterday, after US gross domestic product expanded at a 2pc annual rate. That followed 1.3pc growth in the second quarter.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1pc, while national benchmark indices advanced in 10 of the 17 western-European markets that were open. The Vienna market was closed. France's CAC 40 climbed 0.7pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 added less than 0.1pc. Germany's DAX gained 0.4pc.

"The good news is that US growth has picked up, buoyed by stronger consumer and government spending," said Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London.

"The bad news is that the third-quarter data still falls woefully short of what's needed over a number of quarters to shore up the sickly US labour market."

Irish Independent

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