Major rally among global markets
Markets rose across the globe with the Dow Jones reaching a record high, amid speculation that central banks around the world will continue with measures to support economic recovery and better-than-expected economic data from the US.
Paddy Power led the charge on Dublin’s Iseq index yesterday, advancing by 4.2 per cent, or €2.70, to climb to €66.80 on the back of a strong set of results. Profits at the bookmaker were up by 15 per cent with a 25 per cent jump in revenues.
Overall the index added 1.9 per cent, or 70.6 points, in Dublin, to advance to 3,880.98.
CRH was also strong on the day, adding 52 cents, or 3.0 per cent, to climb to €17.50.
Ryanair was flat to up on the day, adding 4 cents to make a slight advance to €5.89
Drinks group CC went in the opposite direction yesterday, giving up 2 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to close down at €4.81.
Glanbia was also down, declining by 14 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to close at €8.70.
UK stocks rallied to their highest level since 2008 as services industries unexpectedly accelerated last month and as companies from Xstrata to Standard Chartered increased their dividend pay-outs. Xstrata led a rebound by mining companies after net income also beat analysts estimates.
The FTSE 100 Index advanced 1.4 per cent at the close, climbing for the fourth time in five days. The equity benchmark has rallied 9.1 per cent this year.
Standard Chartered increased 3.2 per cent to 1,837.5 pence after Britain’s second-largest lender by market value reported pretax profit of $6.88 billion, beating the $6.84 billion average analyst estimate. The bank also cut its bonus pool by 7 per cent to $1.43 billion and increased its dividend to 56.77 cents a share.
Serco jumped 8.9 per cent to 630.5 pence, as the operator of London’s Docklands Light Railway reported a 6.1 per cent increase in 2012 pretax profit to £278.1 million.
European stocks rose, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index rallying to a 4½-year high. The Stoxx 600 jumped by 1.8 per cent to 294.11, the highest level since June 2008.
The gauge gained in February for a ninth successive month – its longest streak since July 1997 – as the European Central Bank pledged to preserve the euro and US politicians reached a budget deal.
Roche Holding, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, gained 1.4 per cent to SFr218.30, the highest price since July 2007. The company obtained EU approval for its breast-cancer drug Perjeta.
Separately, chief executive officer Severin Schwan confirmed the company’s 2013 sales and earnings forecasts and said he expected Roche would be able to raise its dividend for this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high as major world stock markets rallied after China pledged more government spending to boost economic growth and showed the US service sector expanding at its fastest pace in a year in February.
Apple rallied 2.6 per cent for its first gain in five days. Qualcomm jumped 2 per cent as it increased its dividend by 40 per cent and set up a $5 billion share buyback plan.
JC Penney sank 11 per cent after its second-biggest shareholder, Vornado Realty Trust, sold 10 million shares in the department-store company. American Apparel rose 19 per cent after forecasting sales for this year that exceeded estimates.
BMC Software jumped 3.7 per cent after reports that the company has attracted renewed buyout interest.
Among Dow stocks hitting all-time highs were Walt Disney and 3M.
All 10 of the S&P 500’s industrial sector indexes rose, with tech shares among the day’s gainers. Just two components ended lower – Coca-Cola and Merck Co, while Alcoa ended flat. – (Additional reporting Bloomberg/Reuters)