AIB popular in late trading


STRONG demand for the leaders sent the market ahead strongly in late trading yesterday, with the financials in particular benefiting from the improved tone to the market.

AIB was the focus of some active after-hours dealing which saw the shares close up 10p on 355p. Most of that rise came in the after-hours period between 4.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. when the shares rose 8p from 347p.

Bank of Ireland was 5p higher on 455p - the phenomenally good first-half results from Bristol & West have merely reinforced the view that the £600 million that will be paid for B&W will be money well spent.

CRH continued to benefit from reaction to the Tilcon acquisition and an endorsement from ratings agency IBCA. The shares closed up 4 1/2p in Dublin on 620p with good bid interest at that closing level. Smurfit was also better bid and closed up 134p on 162p, with some investors taking the view that Smurfit is a good recovery bet.

Elsewhere, activity was limited and there was no trading at all in Tullow despite continued heavy trading in the stock in London. Almost five million Tullow shares dealt in London as some investors took a punt on the outcome to the current gas testing in Pakistan. Others are being tempted into Tullow by renewed rumours of a takeover bid, with Lasmo now joining British Gas and Enterprise as rumoured predators.

Meanwhile, Avonmore was 3p higher on 150p but, elsewhere in the sector, Waterford Foods did not change from its overnight 84p ahead of next week's interim results. Golden Vale remained weak and lost another 1/2p to 58 1/2p ahead of half-year results which are expected to be dismal.