Fall of Providence does not stymie gain by Iseq
Non-farm payroll figures boost European and US markets after early losses
Shares in Providence Resources plummeted after analysis on one of its key prospects off the southwest of Ireland indicated the reservoir contained water. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The Iseq was positive on the day before the Bank Holiday, closing up 1.16 per cent. It was a similar story across the rest of Europe, where the day started slow but ultimately got a boost after US non-farm payroll data was released. The US jobs data showed 209,000 jobs created in July compared to an expected 183,000 jobs.
As with European stocks, a number of Irish company’s had a poor start to the day but pushed upwards in the aftermath of the US non-farm payrolls release.
Iseq heavyweight CRH was one of those. The stock rebounded and closed up 1.29 per cent at €29.88.
Packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa was another company benefitting from the US data. It also reversed early losses to close up 2.24 per cent.
The biggest story on Ireland’s benchmark index on Friday was Providence Resources. Shares in the oil exploration company plummeted after analysis on one of its key prospects off the southwest of Ireland indicated the reservoir contained water. The stock fell by as much as 46 per cent, but clawed back some losses to end the day down 38.42 per cent at €0.109.
Bank of Ireland reversed some losses from earlier in the week, and outperformed all of its peers. The bank was one of the biggest gainers on the Iseq overall index and managed to return to the €7 level. It ultimately closed up 2.62 per cent.
The UK’s top share index enjoyed its best week so far in 2017 as gains among big defensive overseas earners on Friday outweighed falls for housebuilding stocks.
Britain’s blue chip energy firms and financials underpinned the rally, with robust first-half results from lender Royal Bank of Scotland sending its shares 2 per cent higher, with peers HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds also rising.
Gains, however, were slightly dampened by sizeable falls among housebuilding stocks, with shares in Barratt Developments, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey all sliding between 3.7 per cent to 4.7 per cent.
Half-year results weighed on education publisher Pearson, whose shares fell 2 per cent after cutting its dividend and saying that it would slash another 3,000 jobs.
European shares ended the week on a strong note as a drop in the euro helped shares in exporters, while investors also focused on a raft of company results.
While gains among financials and overseas-earning consumer staples firms were the biggest boost to the STOXX, Petrofac was the top individual gainer, jumping 8.8 per cent after its joint venture won a $2 billion refinery contract.
GEA shot 8.7 per cent higher on news that Albert Frere, Belgium’s richest man, holds a stake of just over 3 per cent in the company.
Swiss Re was the biggest single drag on the STOXX, down around 3 per cent after the world’s second largest reinsurer reported a bigger than expected 35 per cent drop in first-half net profit as claims from natural disasters weighed.
US stocks were off their highs in late morning trading on Friday, and the Dow was on track to close higher for the ninth straight day.
The utilities and consumer discretionary sectors led the decliners and capped gains. Shares of Viacom slumped after the company forecast a low single-digit dip in sales. The stock was among the top drags on the Nasdaq.
Walt Disney was down and was the top drag on the Dow and the S&P. Yelp jumped after the company said it would sell its Eat24 business to Grubhub for $287.5 million and reported a better-than-expected quarterly revenue.
Weight Watchers was up after well-received quarterly earning reports. – Additional reporting: Reuters