European stocks up to one-week high
Markets climbed yesterday as European finance ministers came together to discuss how to use its permanent bail-out fund, the ESM. In the US, Barack Obama was inaugurated as US president for a second term and markets were closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In a quiet day of trading, the Iseq closed up by 0.1 per cent, following broader market trends.
Bank of Ireland continued its good form of late, holding firm at €0.14, while drinks group CC added 8 cent, or 1.7 per cent, to advance to €4.63.
CRH added 10 cent, or 0.6 per cent, to finish the day up at €15.05. Paddy Power was slightly off on the day, giving up 5 cent, or 0.08 per cent, to close down at €61.95, as was Kerry Group. It fell back by 12 cent, or 0.3 per cent, to finish the day down at €38.15.
European stocks climbed to a one-week high as euro zone finance ministers met for the first time this year to address the region’s debt crisis and to discuss how to channel firewall funds to banks.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose by 0.2 per cent to 287.72, its highest level since January 9th. In France, the Cac 40 gained 0.5 per cent, while Germany’s Dax increased by 0.6 per cent.
Novozymes rallied 7 per cent to 172 kroner in Copenhagen. The world’s biggest maker of enzymes used in washing-machine powder reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat estimates and named Peder Holk Nielsen as its chief executive officer. Nielsen will succeed Steen Riisgaard, who is retiring on April 1st after 12 years in the role.
PostNL, the Dutch mail service with operations in Britain, Germany and Italy, climbed 6.9 per cent to € 1.90, the biggest jump since October 2nd.
Air France-KLM, Europe’s biggest airline, increased by 3.8 per cent to € 8.40 and International Consolidated Airlines advanced by 2.1 per cent to 212.8 pence as Credit Suisse upgraded the shares.
Richemont, the maker of Cartier jewellery, led luxury companies lower, tumbling by 5.6 per cent to 74.30 Swiss francs for the biggest decline since June 1st, after it said that third-quarter revenue rose by 9.3 per cent to €2.86 billion, missing analysts’ expectations.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton,the world’s largest maker of luxury goods, declined by 1.2 per cent to €139.75.
Britain’s FTSE 100 scaled fresh 4.5 year peaks, with signs of progress in US budget talks encouraging investors’ shift from low-yielding government bonds into higher risk, higher return equities.
The FTSE 100 closed up by 26.57 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,180.98, its highest finish since mid-2008.
“There are clearly some political issues that face us in the near term . . . [But] if you are an investor, equities are cheap against fixed income, that combined with an improving global environment means there are plenty of opportunities,” said John Haynes, head of research at Investec Wealth and Investment.
Admiral surged by 4.9 per cent to 1,211 pence, its biggest gain since October 16th, as Goldman Sachs raised its recommendation on the shares to conviction buy, from neutral. The brokerage said the value of insurance claims may increase at a slower pace than analysts had predicted.
Afren gained 2.7 per cent to 138.7 pence after saying revenue will probably rise in 2013 as production increases in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The British-based explorer focused on Nigeria and Iraq said in a statement that sales probably more than doubled to about $1.5 billion last year.
Pearson declined by 2.9 per cent to 1,202 pence after the owner of the Financial Times lowered its earnings projection for 2012 to about 84 pence from a previous estimate of 84.9 pence. The company said in a statement that difficult market conditions will continue into 2013. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)