Saturday 20 January 2018

US data boosts European trading

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

European markets delivered strong performances yesterday, with sentiment spurred by data from the US that showed an improving economic situation.

The data revealed that fewer Americans than expected filed first time claims for unemployment insurance last week, while applications for jobless benefits fell. Consumer confidence in the US also rose to its highest level in over four years.

"October is behind us and as the new month begins, market sentiment may get more positive again in terms of price action," said Serge Berger, a Zurich-based trader at Blue Oak Advisors.

There was also good news from China. Its manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in three months following a seven-quarter slowdown.

In Ireland, manufacturing also continued to perform well. The NCB Purchasing Managers' Index rose from 51.8 to 52.1 last month, with any number above 50 indicating expansion.

The ISEQ Overall Index muddled along until lunch time but then jumped in later trading thanks to the US data. It closed up 1.04pc, or 33.71 points, at 3,282.20.

Bank of Ireland was among the main gainers. Its boss, Richie Boucher, told an Oireachtas committee yesterday that the bank had no intention of engaging in a general write down of mortgage debt. Its shares climbed 5.5pc to 9.6 cent.


Shares in clinical outsourcing firm Icon advanced 5.4pc, or 95.5 cent to €18.50 after it revealed plans to delist from the ISEQ and shift its main listing to the Nasdaq. It also reported that third quarter net revenue climbed 19pc to $286m (€221m), while income from operations rose 7.3pc to $20.9m.

Grafton Group rose 2.3pc, or 7.8 cent, to €3.45. It said its Belgian joint venture is acquiring two merchanting outlets in the country for around €9m.

Shares in ferry group Irish Continental dropped 2.9pc, or 55 cent, to €18.25, while shares in oil firm Providence Resources declined 2.4pc to €7.57.

National benchmark indices rose in 13 of the 16 western European markets that were open. France's CAC 40 and the UK's FTSE 100 both climbed 1.4pc. Germany's DAX added 1pc while Greece's ASE slumped 5pc.

BSkyB rallied 7.1pc to 759p, the biggest increase since June 2010, after reporting an increase in first-quarter operating profit that beat analyst estimates.

Lloyds Banking jumped 8.3pc to 43.94p. Britain's biggest mortgage lender said the amount it pays out each month to settle payment protection insurance claims fell to £250m in the third quarter from £300m in the second.

Swatch Group, the world's largest watchmaker, rose 4.8pc to 403.90 francs. Christian Dior rose 3.3pc to €114.45, while LVMH Moet Hennessy advanced 2.6pc to €128.60.

Irish Independent

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