Business World

Saturday 17 March 2018

Shares rise despite IL&P crash

IL&P closed down 16.94pc at 88c. Photo: Bloomberg News
IL&P closed down 16.94pc at 88c. Photo: Bloomberg News
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares rose yesterday, with most stocks posting a gain. But the day was overshadowed by the banks, with Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) tumbling by more than a fifth.

On the day the ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.76pc, or 20.49 points, to close at 2722.00. The index fell as low as 2681.94 in early trading, before mounting an uneven recovery over the rest of the day.

IL&P was the big loser though, closing down 16.94pc at 88c.

The nation's biggest mortgage lender took a hammering after press reports suggested that there could be a wave of mortgage defaults in the future.

"Unlike Allied Irish and Bank of Ireland, IL&P is a pure mortgage player so the capitulation we saw was a natural step after the stories in this morning's papers," said one market player.

"There is a lot of concern about the firm's fundraising requirements," he added.

Bank of Ireland was initially hit by an early sell off as well, falling to another 52-week low of 36c before recovering somewhat. Nevertheless, the stock closed down for a record 12th successive day, off 5.65pc at 40c.

In contrast to the other firms, AIB finished trading up 7.46pc at 29c but that was only after another dramatic day which saw the stock in the red for most of the morning and afternoon.

Away from the banks it was mostly positive, with CRH gaining 2.37pc in anticipation of an interim management statement from the company today.

CPL Resources added 2.27pc on the day the recruitment firm held its annual general meeting.

Oil and gas explorer Providence Resources continued its wild ride of the past fortnight, hitting €3.27 in the afternoon before falling back to €3.03 by the close -- a gain of 1pc.

Outside of Ireland, it was mixed day for equities. National benchmark indexes fell in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The UK FTSE 100 lost 0.4pc, while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX were little changed.

The composite Stoxx 600 was essentially flat as well.

"We are seeing a pause for breath today having rallied hard on the back of QE2 and non-farm payrolls," said Joshua Raymond, a markets strategist at City Index in London.

"There is a distinct lack of major economic data today also, which means that the market may struggle to find direction."

Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank, slid 4.9pc after third-quarter net income of €113m, missed analysts' estimates.

Gartmore, the UK money manager that began trading its shares in December, tumbled 15pc after the firm announced one of its star stock pickers was retiring and its chief investment manager resigned.

Irish Independent

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