Monday 18 December 2017

Oil gains put gloss on lacklustre day

Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

THE ISEQ Overall Index had a rather lacklustre day although it ended the day in positive territory as oil companies gained.

The benchmark closed up 8.49 points at 3,626.16 following a day which saw the demise of two rallies -- one in the early morning, the second in the early afternoon. The best percentage gainer of the day was Petroceltic, which rose 14.3pc to 8c. In the process it put on 10 times the average volume of the past four days amidst indications that someone saw value yesterday in the oil explorer, which cleared its balance sheet issues in the spring after selling a stake in an Algerian gas field interest. There are rumours of a further deal which could generate more cash. Back in February, the company said there was a prospect of a €75m payment to come later in the year as part of a previous deal.

Other exploration interests on the up yesterday included Providence Resources, which rose 3.2pc to €6.17 as shareholders heard about increased daily production rates. Dragon Oil rose 4pc to €6.80 as crude price volatility declined.

Elan rose 2.28pc to €11.65 following further progress by US President Barack Obama on his healthcare reforms.

Some companies recouped the recent losses as investors judged losses as unjust or gains unfounded, such as the construction materials outfit Grafton Group, which rose 4.5pc to €2.56, regaining more than half of the previous day's 7.2pc wipeout.

It was all change again between Ryanair and Aer Lingus, as the former awaits a response to its recent takeover proposal. The Government has confirmed that it will consider the proposal. Yesterday saw Aer Lingus regain 2pc to €1.07, almost making good on the previous day's losses of 1.8pc while Ryanair shed 2.13pc to €4, taking it down halfway from the previous day's gain of 4.3pc.

Among the big losers yesterday were Datalex, which shed 5pc to 57c amidst news that the Irish travel software firm has lost chief executive Cormac Whelan who has just been replaced by an interim candidate.

Opposing factors

C&C continued to tumble, shedding 2.46pc to €3.17 in the wake of some expected tough trading announcements today. Donegal Creameries fell 4.5pc to €3.21 and UTV media slid 4.2 pc to €1.82.

The Stoxx 600 Index lost 0.1pc to finish at 242.59. The FTSE 100 index dropped 0.1pc while the DAX 30 edged up 0.1pc and the CAC 40 lost 0.3pc. In New York, the Dow Jones was up slightly in early day trading.

Sentiments in Europe varied with all sorts of opposing factors pulling at investors. News of a roadmap for tighter euro monetary control clashed with further downgrades for Spanish banks and Cyprus's request for a new bailout.

Irish Independent

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