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Ryanair lifts shares to five-year high

IRISH shares surged to their highest point in nearly five years, as strong growth from Ryanair boosted the wider market.

By the close in Dublin the ISEQ Overall index had added 1.47pc, or 58.82 points, to close at 4,063.59. That was the market's highest close since September 16, 2008, the day after Lehmann Brothers collapsed.

The index was led by Ryanair, which jumped 6.9pc to a new high of €6.77.

The Dublin-based carrier's earnings after tax rose to €569m in the 12 months to March 31, from €503m a year earlier. On top of that Ryanair also released a stronger than expected forecast for this year.

Elan rose 1.9pc to €9.05. The company announced two new acquisitions on Monday and was subject to a new, increased bid from Royalty Pharma, which has already had one bid rejected by the board.

Few stocks posted significant losses on Monday but the notable exception was Aminex.

The oil and gas explorer plunged to its lowest level since 1992 after it reported numerous delays across its business in the first five months of the year.

Elsewhere, European stocks advanced, extending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index's highest level since June 2008, as the region's carmakers rallied.

National benchmark indexes gained in seven of the 12 western-European markets that opened. The UK's FTSE 100 climbed 0.5pc to the highest level since 2000. France's CAC 40 rose 0.5pc, while Germany's DAX added 0.7pc. The compostite Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3pc.

"Investors are waiting for more clues in terms of economic data and will be watching comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke tomorrow to determine where markets will go," said Stephane Ekolo, chief European strategist at Market Securities.

Peugeot, Europe's second-largest automobile producer jumped 5.9pc. A gauge of vehicle manufacturers posted the best performance of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Volkswagen added 3.2pc, while BMW, the biggest luxury-car maker, advanced 2.9pc.

Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation on European automobile manufacturers to overweight, similar to a buy rating, from neutral.

Impregilo surged 15pc, its largest rally in more than five years, after winning a €1.7bn contract to build a line of the Doha metro in Qatar.

Fresnillo, the world's biggest producer of silver, slid 3.3pc. Polymetal International, a Russian gold and silver producer, fell 2.6pc. Lonmin, the third-largest platinum mining company, lost 3.7pc.

FirstGroup slumped 30pc to 155.6 pence, the biggest drop since at least 1995, after the operator of buses and trains said it will not pay a dividend. The company also announced a £615m capital increase through a rights offer.

ends

Irish Independent