Banks boosted on euro bulls buying bout


Boosted by phenomenal demand from European investors for the two big banking stocks, the Irish stock market powered ahead by over 2 per cent, regaining some of the ground lost on Monday when European stock markets were 5 per cent higher in a bout of first-day "europhoria".

With no sign that index-buyers are satisfied with their AIB and Bank of Ireland buying spree and with domestic holders reluctant to sell shares that they believe are certain to rise, the prospects of the market scaling its 5,471 peak for the ISEQ over the coming weeks are positive.

Yesterday Bank of Ireland was the better of the two banks and jumped #1.07 to #20.17 (£15.89) in heavy trading. the pattern was the same in AIB where the shares were 59 cents higher on #16.49 (£12.99). While volumes in the other financial shares were low, the bid interest for AIB and Bank of Ireland did benefit Anglo Irish (up 10 cents to #2.68 (£2.11), First Active (up 13 cents to #4.68 (£3.69), Irish Life (up 24 cents to #8.22 (£6.51) in a sterling denominated deal and Irish Permanent (up 35 cents to #13.30 (£10.47).

Smurfit was the most active among the industrials on the back of the aggressive pricing move by Smurfit Stone and dealt up 9 cents to #1.67 (£1.32) while CRH, which has had a sluggish start to the year as profittakers moved in, was 20 cents higher on #14.90 (£11.73).

Second-liners to benefit from the positive tone included DCC, up 15 cents on #7.70 (£6.06), Golden Vale, up 4 cents on #1.15 (91p) and Grafton, up 20 cents on #15.05 (£11.85).

The main feature of Nasdaq trading was another strong showing by Esat which was trading over $2 higher around its all-time high above $44 (#37.35). Trading volumes, however, were relatively low.