Monday 18 December 2017

Syria rumours boost markets

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A Russia-backed agreement that would see Syria's chemical weapons confiscated, coupled with better-than-expected economic data from China, buoyed stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic yesterday.

In the US, stocks extended the longest winning streak for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index since July; while in Europe bourses surged to their highest levels since May.

"There is a change in sentiment and we think markets can go further until the end of the year," Herbert Perus, who helps oversee about $36bn (€27bn) of funds as head of equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna, said by telephone.

"Syria is not as big a problem anymore. The possibility of a military strike seems low now."

The US has said it would postpone air strikes against Syria if the chemical weapons were put beyond use.

China's industrial output rose 10.4pc in August, while retail sales climbed 13.4pc.

"International investors are getting more and more aware of the fact that European markets are not as bad as they looked in the past," said Mr Perus.

"The fear over China was overstated. These are normalised figures and this is good for the markets because that fear is getting priced out."

The ISEQ Overall Index climbed just over 1pc, or 42.70 points, to close at 4,266.47.

It had been close to 4,300 earlier in the session.

Shares in Ryanair regained some of the ground they lost last week when the carrier issued a profit warning.

They rose 2.9pc, or 17.6 cent to €6.26. Shares in rival Easyjet soared over 7pc in London. Shares in Aer Lingus climbed 2.2pc, or 3.4 cent to €1.59.

Shares in CRH gained 2.4pc to €17.64; while Smurfit Kappa also benefited from better sentiment, adding nearly 2.6pc, or 41 cent, to close at €16.36.

Bank of Ireland reversed earlier gains, shedding 2.1pc to finish at 23 cent. Food group Kerry again succumbed to selling pressure, falling 1.7pc to €45.40.

National benchmark indices rose in 17 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. France's CAC 40 gained 1.9pc. Germany's DAX rallied 2.2pc. The UK's FTSE 100 added 1pc.

Irish Independent

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