Business World

Saturday 24 February 2018

Slight ISE gains on slow trading

Irish Life & Permanent posted advances of more than 2pc. Photo: Bloomberg News
Irish Life & Permanent posted advances of more than 2pc. Photo: Bloomberg News
Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

IRISH shares posted small gains during lacklustre trade that saw European stocks rise to their highest levels since April on hopes of further mergers and takeovers in the financial sector.

The ISEQ rose 10.03 points, or 0.3pc, to 2692.39 as several small stocks such as Howth-based software company Datalex and resource company Kenmare posted double-digit increases, and blue bloods such as Aryzta, Irish Life & Permanent and clinical testing company Icon all posted advances of more than 2pc.

Cider maker C&C was unchanged despite a report from Citigroup lowering its recommendation for the shares from 'buy' to 'hold'.

Readymix tumbled 7.7 to 24c, paring last week's surge after the company announced it was in takeover talks that may lead to an offer.

European stocks elsewhere hit their highest level since April as Royal Bank of Canada's (RBC) offer for BlueBay Asset Management boosted financial-services companies, outweighing losses in BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. National benchmark indexes advanced in 15 of the 18 western European markets.

The FTSE 100 climbed 0.7pc and Germany's DAX rose 0.4pc. France's CAC 40 increased 0.2pc.

BlueBay jumped 30pc after agreeing to be bought by RBC. Credit Suisse led gains by banks as Citigroup reported earnings that topped estimates. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto slid after scrapping an iron-ore joint venture.

Royal Philips Electronics, the world's largest lighting company, sank 4.2pc after saying it was "cautious" on fourth-quarter sales.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.3pc to the highest level since April 26 as European equities continue to climb on speculation that the Federal Reserve will announce further plans to stimulate economic growth at its November meeting.

"We are getting good figures from US banks but investors are also waiting to see what will come from European banks," said Heinz-Gerd Sonnenschein, an equity strategist at Deutsche Postbank in Bonn.

"The strong M&A activity shows companies are rich in cash and willing to invest in the market. Still, we could see investors remain a bit in wait-and-see mode until we get more earnings and more indications on the strength of the economic recovery."

Euro-region interbank borrowing costs rose to the same level as the European Central Bank's (ECB) main interest rate for the first time in 15 months yesterday, signalling greater willingness by financial institutions to lend to one another.

The increase in Euribor suggests more banks are weaning themselves off ECB liquidity programmes that were started to fight the global recession and then extended as the Greek debt crisis fuelled concern that some nations in the region could default.

Irish Independent

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