Little change in European markets
There was little change in European stocks yesterday as a surge in German investor confidence was offset by an unexpected fall in US home sales.
In another quiet day for the Iseq, the market closed up just 0.3 per cent although there was some movement. CRH enjoyed another good day, adding 1.9 per cent, finishing at €15.34 without help from the sector which was flat to down in the day. The stock had underperformed in 2012, a trend that has reversed this month.
There was little movement for Aer Lingus and Ryanair, with the former closing at €1.23. Trading on Ryanair also calmed following recent speculation surrounding its efforts to buy out Aer Lingus. It closed down 0.25 per cent at €5.29.
Bank of Ireland finished off 0.7 per cent at €0.14 in line with European banks.
The FTSE 100 Index failed to build on recent highs, closing down 1.8 points as investors waited for figures from the likes of IBM and Google in the US.
Sterling was up against the dollar and the euro, despite worse-than-expected public sector borrowing figures.
Kingfisher, owner of BQ, was up 4.1 pence to 273p after Exane BNP Paribas said it was hopeful this year would be better for the blue-chip company.
Fashion retailer Next was upgraded by the same broker after a recent Christmas trading update highlighted the resilience of the business. Shares were 61p higher at 4031p.
Royal Bank of Scotland fell 4p to 362.9p and GKN saw a drop of 3.6p to 244.5p.
Elsewhere, shares in grocery delivery chain Ocado jumped 6 per cent after its announcement that former Marks Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose will become chairman in May.
European stocks remained relatively flat despite a surge in confidence from German investors. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell less than 0.1 per cent at the close, after earlier losing as much as 0.8 per cent.
Frankfurt’s DAX fell as much as 1.4 per cent on the talk but then erased about half of that loss. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down just 0.1 per cent.
The euro pared sharp losses against the yen and was little changed against the dollar after a German ZEW survey showed economic sentiment at its highest since last May.
Deutsche Bank slid 1.9 per cent to €35.94 after a person familiar with the matter said the regulator, Bafin, asked Germany’s biggest lender to simulate a split of its business. Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, fell 5.7 per cent on concern that derivatives contracts losses are hurting profit.
Vivendi, Europe’s biggest media and telecommunications company, lost 4 per cent to €16.08. Drillisch jumped 3.7 per cent to €12.30, its highest price in more than 12 years after the German telephone-services provider announced a sharp increase in dividends.
Stocks advanced yesterday sending the SP 500 up for a fifth day, as insurance and commodity shares led gains amid better-than-forecast earnings.
Travelers climbed more than 2.1 per cent to help lead gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the insurer beat estimates on higher income from its investment portfolio, increased sales and a benefit from reserves.
Freeport-McMoRan rose 4.6 per cent, the most since September, after results showed copper sales increased more than expected and costs fell.
Chemical maker DuPont gained 1.8 per cent after earnings beat estimates as demand climbed for plastics used in cars.
In extended-hours trading, Google shares rose 4.5 per cent to above $734 after the world’s number search engine reported a jump in fourth-quarter revenue, while IBM added more than 3 per cent to trade above $200 after the world’s largest technology services company reported earnings and revenue that beat estimates. – (Additional reports: Bloomberg and Reuters)