Markets rally after fears about hurricane and North Korea subside

Applegreen closed at a 52-week high after announcing its first dividend payment

Applegreen: closed at a 52-week high of €5.80 after announcing its first dividend payment to shareholders. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Applegreen: closed at a 52-week high of €5.80 after announcing its first dividend payment to shareholders. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Markets rallied on Tuesday as investors’ fears about the impact of Hurricane Irma and the nuclear stand-off with North Korea eased.

DUBLIN

Service station chain Applegreen closed at a 52-week high of €5.80 after announcing its first dividend payment to shareholders. The Irish group said gross profits rose 20 per cent in the first half of the year to €82.2 million.

It proposes paying an interim dividend of 0.6 cent, its first such payment. Close to 440,000 of its shares traded in Dublin on Tuesday, which dealers described as reasonable for a stock that “tends not to be the most liquid”. Its shares climbed 4.16 per cent on the back of the activity.

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa rose 3.4 per cent to €26.475 after analysts at investment bank Goldman Sachs recommended the stock as a buy. Investors took their advice and purchased more than 1.1 million of its shares.

Builder Cairn Homes tumbled 4.02 per cent to €1.695 after founders – brothers Michael and Kevin Stanley, and Alan McIntosh – sold a combined 2.1 per cent stake for €26.6 million. The three sold at €1.70, a discount of close to 4 per cent on Monday’s close. The stock dipped further during the day.

Bank of Ireland added 1.42 per cent as sentiment towards the sector improved generally on Tuesday. Close to 2.17 million of its shares changed hands during the day.

There was less interest in its rival, AIB, which ticked up 0.4 per cent to close at €4.96.

LONDON

Shares in London weakened as sterling rose on the back of speculation that higher inflation would prompt the Bank of England to increase borrowing charges.

Irish explorer Providence fell a further 2.22 per cent to 5.5 pence sterling. The company this week reported poor results from drilling in the Porcupine Basin off the State’s southwest coast.

Sky shares took a tumble after the UK’s culture minister, Karen Bradley, said Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7 billion bid to take full control of the broadcaster faces a potential wider investigation by the competition regulator. Shares in Sky closed down more than 1 per cent at 937p.

Retailer JD Sports upped its earnings outlook for the full year after robust sales. The group cheered an “exceptional first half” after it saw pretax profits leap a third higher to £102.7 million in the six months to July 29th. Shares in the Ftse 250 firm surged 7 per cent to 373.7p.

The biggest risers on the Ftse 100 were Ashtead group (up 4.48 per cent to 1,759p), Barclays (up 2.5 per cent to 191.35p) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group (up 2.42 per cent to 249.7p).

EUROPE

Financial stocks were yet again among the top performers, with banks and financial services up 1.6 and 1.1 per cent respectively.

Insurance firms, which fuelled Europe’s rise on Monday with a roughly 2 per cent jump, were again in positive territory, edging up 0.8 per cent.

Volkswagen rose 1.9 percent after announcing a €20 billion plan to develop zero-emission vehicles. Other auto makers also gained ground, such as Peugeot, which topped France’s blue-chip CAC 40 index with a 3.8 per cent rise.

Novartis gained 1.3 per cent as it reported that its biosimilar rituximab to treat blood cancers and immunological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis was accepted for review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

French veterinarian pharmaceutical company Virbac sank 16.3 per cent after cutting its full-year outlook.

NEW YORK

US stocks were higher in early-afternoon trading on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 hitting a record intraday high led by gains in financial stocks, and investors focused on an Apple event where the company is set to launch its new iPhone.

Apple’s shares inched 0.3 per cent higher as the event to launch the 10th anniversary edition of the mobile phone kicked off.

McDonald’s shares fell more than 3 per cent on a report that a research firm had raised concerns about the fast-food chain’s third-quarter sales. DowDuPont rose 1.77 per cent after the company said it was making changes to a plan of splitting itself into three.

(Additional reporting: Reuters)