Aryzta up 1% on McDonald's sweet move

Sat, Mar 24, 2012, 00:00

Dow Jones: 13,080.73 (+0.27%) SP 500: 1,397.11 (+0.31%) Nasdaq: 3,067.92 (+0.15%)

EUROPEAN STOCKS closed little changed yesterday, after the biggest weekly sell-off this year, as a rebound in car-makers and mining companies offset an unexpected drop in US housing data.

DUBLIN

IT WAS A quiet day of trading in Dublin with thin trading in most stocks. Food group Aryzta closed up just more than 1 per cent as fast food chain McDonald’s announced plans to test sweet goods at restaurants in New England

Aryzta already has a relationship with McDonald’s and could benefit from any move by that company into sweet goods.

Kenmare Resources was up almost 4.3 per cent at 56.3 cents while drinks group CC finished 2.4 per cent higher at €3.87. The main loser on the day was software company Datalex, which was down 6.12 per cent at 46 cents.

Independent News Media closed down 2 per cent for the second day running but the fall came on small volumes of trading.

On Thursday, INM reported reduced profits for 2011 and indicated that profits were unlikely to rise this year.

UK

UK STOCKS rose the most in a week, as BT Group jumped to its highest price since 2008 after the company said it will pay off half of its pension deficit and may increase its dividend. Essar Energy surged 9.1 per cent after Morgan Stanley recommended buying the stock. Regus gained 1.3 per cent after Panmure Gordon upgraded the shares.

Randgold Resources slid 2 per cent as Citigroup downgraded the mining company following yesterday’s coup in Mali.

BT jumped 5.4 per cent to 232.1 pence, its highest price since May 2008. The UK’s largest fixed-line operator said it would pay £2 billion to narrow the deficit in its pension plan, enabling it to reduce annual payments to the final-salary arrangement.

Essar Energy surged 9.1 per cent to 153.8 pence after Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation on the shares to overweight from equal weight, meaning that investors should hold more of the shares than are represented in benchmark indexes.

Regus gained 1.3 per cent to 116 pence after Panmure Gordon raised its recommendation on the shares to buy from hold.

Randgold slipped 2 per cent to 5,650 pence as Citigroup cut its shares rating to neutral from buy, saying the “key damage is to risk perception”, after a coup toppled the government in Mali, where the company operates three mines.

EUROPE

EUROPEAN stocks posted their biggest weekly decline this year as economic data from China to the US and Europe raised concerns that the global economic recovery is faltering.

Stocks across Europe closed little changed on the day, after the biggest weekly sell-off this year, as a rebound in car-makers and mining companies offset an unexpected drop in US housing data.

Daimler 3.7 per cent, while Volkswagen slipped 6.3 percent.

Renault and Antofagasta rallied at least 2 per cent after both tumbled more than 3 per cent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.1 per cent to 265.65 at the close in London, paring this week’s retreat to 2.5 per cent, the biggest drop since December.

The gauge has still advanced 8.6 per cent in 2012 as the European Central Bank disbursed more than €1 trillion to the region’s lenders.

National indexes rose in 13 of 18 western-European markets. France’s CAC 40 and the UK’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 per cent, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 per cent.

Renault rallied 2.5 per cent to €40.30, leading a gauge of companies in the motor industry 1.4 per cent higher.

Peugeot Citroen gained 2.3 per cent to €12.89 and Volkswagen increased 1.7 per cent to €132.35.

Mining companies also rose as copper rebounded in London. Antofagasta rallied 2.7 per cent to 1,172 pence, the first increase in four days. Kazakhmys advanced 2.5 per cent to 935.5 pence and Rio Tinto Group gained 1.5 per cent to 3,382.5 pence.

US

US STOCKS rose yesterday, trimming the biggest weekly drop of the year for the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, as gains in commodity and energy companies amid rising oil prices offset an unexpected decline in new-home purchases.

Material and energy shares each climbed 1 per cent, the most among 10 groups in the SP 500, as crude rose on a report that sanctions will reduce Iranian exports.

Morgan Stanley added 3.8 per cent, pacing an advance among financial companies, after it was raised to sector perform by Royal Bank of Canada.

Alcoa jumped 1 per cent to $10.11, while Caterpillar added 1.3 per cent to $107.83. Chevron climbed 1 per cent to $106.36. Cabot Oil and Gas jumped 3.2 per cent to $32.52, while Consol Energy gained 2.5 per cent to $33.76.

Bats Global Markets withdrew its initial public offering after errors on its own system derailed trading in the stock and forced a halt in Apple. Apple finished regular trading down 0.6 per cent at $596.05. – (Additional reporting Bloomberg)