Business World

Thursday 22 March 2018

Ryanair's gains give ISEQ a boost

Thomas Molloy

IRISH shares gained, led higher by Ryanair as the airline returned to profit and announced its first ever dividend. Shares elsewhere in Europe posted declines.

The ISEQ Overall index closed up 34.74 points, or 1.2pc, to 2982.44 points after shares in Ryanair surged 4.4pc to €3.53. Seventeen shares rose and 15 fell. Europe's largest discount airline said net income jumped to €305m in the 12 months to March 31 as sales rose 2pc to €3bn. Ryanair plans a special dividend totalling €500m in October, its first payment to shareholders since the company sold stock in 1997 and said another dividend may be paid in 2013.

Shares in Aminex jumped 61pc to 12c after the 'Financial Times' reported that the Dublin-based oil exploration company has signed a production-sharing agreement to explore an area of the seabed larger than Switzerland off the coast of North Korea.

Aminex has formed a company to pursue the project jointly with Chosun Energy, a Singapore-listed company. Shares in Irish Life & Permanent tumbled 5.3pc to €1.85 as credit rating agency Standard & Poor's predicted house prices in Ireland are likely to fall by another 10pc this year, before reaching the bottom next year.

Petroceltic International slipped 2.1pc to 14c after shareholders voted against a measure to allow the oil and gas explorer to sell shares representing 20pc of the company.

Stocks elsewhere in Europe were mostly down as the rate of manufacturing expansion in China and Europe slowed and BP failed to plug the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP, Europe's second-biggest oil company, slumped the most in 18 years.

Boliden led mining companies lower as base metals dropped. Prudential jumped 6.3pc on speculation its takeover of American International Group's main Asian unit won't proceed.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.2pc even as four shares fell for every three that advanced.

The gauge slumped 5.8pc last month, the biggest monthly drop since February 2009, amid concern that European nations will have difficulty taming their budget deficits without harming the economic recovery.

"Chinese manufacturing data is another sign showing the global economy is cooling down," said Markus Steinbeis, head of equity portfolio management at the Unterfoehring. "The cyclical tailwind is fading and the market is a bit under pressure. Expectations for the macroeconomic environment and earnings are still ambitious."

Rio Tinto retreated 1.2pc as the third-largest mine operator said it's paying its "fair share" of Australian taxes after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd vowed to push ahead with plans to impose a 40pc levy on profits.

Irish Independent

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