Markets little changed in early trading

Pound rose, jumping to the strongest level in a year against the euro

 On Irish market Ryanair was the main mover, closing up just under 2 per cent at €6.878. The airline announced yesterday that it has bought back 175,000 of its own shares as part of its buyback programme. Photograph: Alan Betson

On Irish market Ryanair was the main mover, closing up just under 2 per cent at €6.878. The airline announced yesterday that it has bought back 175,000 of its own shares as part of its buyback programme. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

ASML Holding

offset a decline in ABB. The Stoxx 600 added 0.1 per cent to 336.06 at the close of trading, its highest level since January 2008. The benchmark gauge has gained 2.4 per cent so far this year as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund raised their forecasts for global growth.

National benchmark indexes fell in 10 of the 18 western European markets. The UK’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1 per cent, Germany’s DAX lost 0.1 per cent, while France‘s CAC 40 climbed less than 0.1 per cent.

In Dublin, the Iseq overall index closed up 0.3 per cent at 4,853.61 with traders reporting a “flat day”.

DUBLIN
Ryanair was the main mover, closing up just under 2 per cent at €6.878. The airline announced yesterday that it has bought back 175,000 of its own shares as part of its buyback programme.

Cavan-based building materials group Kingspan finished 1.4 per cent higher at €13.69.

Bank of Ireland closed down 3 per cent at 29 cent, putting a halt to its recent gallop. Capital Group announced that it had sold 42 million shares in the company to bring its holding below 7 per cent. It continues to own 2.25 billion shares in Bank of Ireland.

Paddy Power finished 1.4 per cent lower in Dublin at €60.10 as bookmakers came “under pressure”, according to traders, and “people looked to take a little bit of risk off”.

LONDON
UK stocks were little changed as a surge in the pound to a one-year high against the euro signalled investors expect interest rates to rise even after Bank of England’s assurance to keep its benchmark rate low.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group dropped 3.1 per cent after UBS advised investors to sell the shares. Sage Group surged to a 13-year high after the UK’s biggest software maker said its first-quarter performance matched its expectations.

Admiral Group rose 3.2 per cent after Numis Securities upgraded the motor insurer to buy. The FTSE 100 Index fell 7.93 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 6,826.33 at the close in London. The gauge has gained 1.1 per cent this year as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund raised their forecasts for global growth. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also declined 0.1 per cent.

The pound rose versus all but one of its 16 major peers, jumping to the strongest level in a year against the euro. Sterling increased 0.6 per cent to 81.78 pence per euro, the strongest since January 10th. The UK currency added 0.6 per cent to $1.6576.

EUROPE
ASML jumped the most in a year after saying it plans to increase its 2013 dividend. ABB retreated 3.6 per cent after saying charges from project delays and operational issues will hurt profit. ASML rallied 7 per cent to €67.51 after saying it will increase its 2013 dividend by 15 per cent. Europe’s largest semiconductor-equipment supplier will pay 61 cent a share, up from 53 cent a year earlier.

Rautaruukki rallied 33 per cent, its biggest gain since at least 1992, to €9.17 after SSAB offered to buy the Finnish steelmaker in a stock swap worth 10.1 billion kronor. SSAB, a Swedish steelmaker, surged 12 per cent to 54.35 kronor.

Sage Group climbed 3.3 per cent to 426.9 pence after the software-publishing company said it expects to meet its target of 6 per cent growth in so-called organic revenue in 2015.

NEW YORK
US stocks were little changed in early trading. Coach, the largest US luxury handbag maker, slumped 6.9 per cent after sales missed analysts’ estimates. IBM slid 3.6 per cent as revenue declined for a seventh consecutive quarter amid weaker demand for servers. Norfolk Southern, the second-largest US eastern railroad, climbed 4.9 per cent after posting a fourth-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates. (Additional reporting, Bloomberg)