Monday 19 March 2018

Stocks still on the rise for fifth day

Thomas Molloy

IRISH stocks rose for a fifth day as financials surged following a raft of better-than-expected results over the past few days and reassuring comments about the banks' plans to remain free of Government control.

Allied Irish Banks posted its biggest one-day gain since September, while Grafton soared 16pc following an optimistic forecast for the year ahead.

Allied Irish soared 19.8pc to €1.25 while Bank of Ireland jumped 9.6pc to €1.09. Irish Life & Permanent closed up 1.2pc at €3.02.

Allied Irish leapt after saying on Tuesday that it will try to sell assets or a stake in the group before approaching shareholders or the the Government for further capital, aiming to ease concerns it might need a further cash injection.

Irish Life, which does not plan to shift bad loans into NAMA, said yesterday that it may need to raise €600m. "It must be positive reception to the plans they are outlining to recapitalise the bank," said Sebastian Orsi, an analyst at Merrion Capital Group in Dublin.

"The share price is volatile and wouldn't take much to move it in these markets." Mr Orsi has a "hold" recommendation on the shares. Allied Irish spokesman Ronan Sheridan declined to comment.


The ISEQ closed up 24.5 points, or 0.8pc, at 2964.53 points.

Exchanges elsewhere in Europe were mixed with nine exchanges advancing and an equal number declining.

Other Irish stocks to gain included Grafton which soared 16.3pc to €2.85 after saying the outlook is beginning to improve following a period of significant uncertainty.

Another stock to post a double digit percentage gain was Petroceltic International which rose as much as 11pc before closing up 5.8pc higher at 14.6c on news of a better-than-expected find in Algeria.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.1pc to 252.93 in late afternoon trading in London, having swung between gains and losses at least 11 times.

Better-than-estimated profit at builder Vinci and an increased dividend at Dutch retailer Royal Ahold helped offset disappointing results at Danish shipping giant Maersk and gas network operator GDF Suez SA.

Stuttgart-based Celesio rallied 9pc to €24.43, the highest close since November 2008 on takeover speculation.

Aviva, the UK's second biggest insurer and Ireland's biggest, declined 2.6pc after it said full-year net income was £1.09bn pounds, missing the £1.4bn median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Brewer Anheuser-Busch dropped 3.1pc to €36.67 after it too missed analysts' estimates and said earnings growth will slow down.

Irish Independent

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