Markets up on China's offer to help EU

Thu, Feb 16, 2012, 00:00

EUROPEAN STOCKS rose yesterday as China said it would help resolve the region’s debt crisis.

Stocks gained in 12 of the 18 western European markets with companies from BNP Paribas to Heineken reporting earnings that beat analysts’ estimates.

The FTSE 100 Index slipped 7.7, or 0.1 per cent at the close in London even though three stocks climbed for every two that dropped while the ISEQ Index rose 1.2 per cent.

DUBLIN

IT WAS another quiet day in Dublin with light volumes across all stocks a continuing theme.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office showed that exports declined to €7.5 billion, a 9 per cent fall compared with November.

Dragon Oil registered a 0.17 cent or 2.6 per cent gain yesterday to close up at €6.60.

The jump came as Brent oil climbed to a six-month high on fears of supply disruptions from Iran.

Kerry also performed well. After hitting a high of 6 per cent earlier in the day, shares closed at €30.6, up €1.24 or 4.2 per cent. Interest was no doubt stimulated by forthcoming results and the consolidation of two of its customers Kellogg’s and Pringles.

The finanials bucked the rising market trend with a sluggish Bank of Ireland down 2.3 per cent to close at 0.12 cent. With a good run on its shares of late, analysts attributed the drop to a possible natural ebb. AIB and Irish Life Permanent also conceded some ground.

Meanwhile, the airlines performed reasonably well, despite fears about increasing oil prices.

Ryanair rose by 2.1 per cent or 9.2 cent to close at €4.29.

Coming into results next week, Aer Lingus finished at 0.92 cent, a drop of 0.4 per cent.

LONDON

WEAK ECONOMIC growth across the euro zone and reports suggesting Greece may not receive all of its bailout funds saw London’s leading shares index dip into the red.

The FTSE 100 Index closed 7.7 points lower at 5892.2 after official figures showed the euro zone contracting by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2011.

By contrast with the Iseq, banks were among the biggest risers in London’s leading shares index after Citigroup raised Barclays’ target price, citing the improvement in its capital position.

Barclays lifted 6.8p to 241.7p, Royal Bank of Scotland was up 0.3p to 26.9 and HSBC was 14.4p higher at 575.9p.

BP was among the biggest fallers despite winning approval to explore for gas in the South China Sea. Shares were 7.4p lower at 487.4p, while rival Royal Dutch Shell fell 30p to 2331.5p.

Domino’s Pizza saw its shares rise after reporting more profits and sales growth and sticking by plans to almost double store numbers to 1,200 by the end of 2021. Shares were 12.5p higher at 490p.

EUROPE

ACROSS EUROPE, stocks rose as China pledged to help resolve the region’s debt crisis.

“China’s pledge to contribute to the bailout fund not only could increase the firepower available but might also persuade other countries like Japan, Russia, oil-rich states and possibly even the US to actively take part in combating the crisis,” said Markus Huber, head of German sales trading at ETX Capital in London.

France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX each rose by 0.4 per cent.

Greece’s ASE sank 5.1 per cent in the biggest two-day decline since November as National Bank of Greece tumbled 11 per cent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.6 per cent to 264.16 at the close of trading, paring an earlier gain of 1 per cent amid speculation a Greek aid package could be delayed until after April elections.

Bank shares were the top gainers in the Stoxx 600.

BNP Paribas was briefly the FTSE Eurofirst 300’s top performing stock after it reported above-consensus results for its fourth quarter.

The stock hit a session high of €36.10 before retreating to a close of €34.89, up 4.1 per cent, after the French bank announced a fourth-quarter net profit of €765 million and gave a positive forecast for 2012.

Société Générale rose 2.2 per cent to €22.38 after three days of losses, while HSBC increased 2.6 per cent to 575.9p.

US

THE SP 500 index hit a seven-month high before giving up some gains after mixed data on the US economy and news of a possible delay in Greece’s bailout.

The SP hit a peak of 1,354.72 after the open but quickly retreated. The index posted gains every week this year except for a 0.2 per cent decline last week.

The Nasdaq also turned negative as shares of Apple gave up earlier gains and moved into the red.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 97.48 points, or 0.76 per cent, to 12,780.80. – (Additional reporting Bloomberg/ Reuters/PA/ Financial Times)