Monday 22 January 2018

Trading pauses ahead of big week

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as markets paused ahead of a host of economic meetings this week.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index had added just 2.38 points, or 0.06pc, to close at 3,917.92.

The market fell early and quickly recovered, but a steady sell-off in the afternoon saw it drift back to its opening level.

The heads of the G8 began their latest summit in Co Fermanagh to discuss a number of topics, while on Thursday, European finance ministers convene in Luxembourg to discuss the use of the EU bailout fund and bank supervision.

Tomorrow, the heads of the US Federal reserve are expected to announce plans to start tightening monetary policy after months of quantitative easing.

The big mover in Dublin was Independent News & Media. The group, which owns this newspaper, surged 22.9pc – the most since January 2 – after all shareholders signed-off on the sale of INM's South African business and a rights issue.

Few other stocks made significant moves either way. Aer Lingus added 1.9pc to close at €1.662 while Smurfit Kappa Group climbed 1.2pc to finish the session at €12.24.

STIMULUS

On the other side of the board, Bank of Ireland continued its poor run of late, falling 4.4pc to 15c.

Analysts at ratings agency Moodys' Investor Services said mortgage arrears in Ireland continued to increase between January and April this year.

Elsewhere, European stocks rose to a one-week high, rebounding from their longest streak of weekly losses in 14 months, as investors awaited this week's Federal Reserve meeting for signs on the pace of stimulus reduction.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.7pc. National benchmark indices climbed in 14 of the 17 western European markets trading. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.4pc, France's CAC 40 rose 1.5pc, and Germany's DAX advanced 1.1pc.

"Markets are looking for peace and stability after the recent roller-coaster ride," said John Plassard at Mirabaud Securities in Geneva.

"This week could lower the pressure and volatility."

O2 Ireland owner Telefonica advanced 2.4pc amid reports that Spain blocked AT&T's takeover bid for the company because Telefonica is "strategic" to Spain's economy. The company denied the report.

Belgacom rose 1.9pc. Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas raised its rating of Belgium's largest telephone company to neutral from underperform.

France Telecom climbed 3.1pc and Vodafone added 1.5pc.

Invensys, the engineering company, added 1.2pc.

Analysts at Canaccord Genuity said that the company looks more attractive to potential buyers after the sale of its rail business.

Irish Independent

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