Friday 15 December 2017

Positive sentiment pushes shares up

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares finished the day higher yesterday, as positive sentiment overseas helped push the market to another gain.

By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.47pc, or 12.21 points, at 2,623.72.

The index fell early on as traders looked forward to a grim autumn fiscal forecast from the UK -- Ireland's biggest trading partner -- but recovered slightly in the afternoon on good sentiment from the US and Europe.

It was a mixed session for most of the day, with no single sector standing out. Indeed, in many cases, a gain by one company was matched by a peer recording a daily loss.

CRH climbed 1.9pc to €13.43, continuing the gains made on Monday, after US consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in November.

Kerry Group had a strong day, closing up 2.68pc at €26.44 although its smaller peer Glanbia fell again, ending at €4.35, a loss of 3.33pc.

Ryanair added 1.11pc to close at €3.63 but the other listed airline, Aer Lingus, lost 2.94pc to close at 66c.

Smurfit Kappa continued its run from Monday, gaining 1.15pc to close at €4.40.

In percentage terms, the leading Irish share yesterday was Providence Resources, with the oil explorer surging 10.96pc to €2.53.

Elsewhere, national benchmark indices rose in 14 of the 18 western-European markets. France's CAC 40 Index and the UK's FTSE 100 Index climbed 0.5pc, while Germany's DAX Index advanced 1pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.8pc as euro-area finance ministers met to discuss insuring a portion of bonds issued by debt-stricken countries.

"The finance minister meeting will be observed carefully," said Trung-Tin Nguyen, a hedge-fund manager at TTN in Zurich. "There is hope, along with increasing pressure, for indicative measures to be implemented. The Italian auction went better than expected, so that gives the market support as well."

Italian 10-year bonds fell, pushing yields for the benchmark securities toward euro-era records as the country sold €7.5bn of debt maturing in 2014, 2020 and 2022. The auction was oversubscribed, however.

BASF, the world's largest chemical company, climbed 2.1pc after the company raised its sales target for the end of this decade.

G4S, the world's largest security company, rose 3.2pc after an analyst at HSBC upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "neutral".

Remy Cointreau climbed 2.9pc after the company forecast "a substantial increase" in full-year earnings. The firm also posted first-half current operating profit that topped analysts' estimates.

Lloyds Bank dropped 2.1pc and KBC fell 6.9pc as a gauge of European banks was the worst performer of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.

Irish Independent

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