CRH rises as investors drift back to value stocks


With technology shares drifting after two days of strong gains, there was good demand for the lower-tech so-called "value stocks" with the banks and CRH driving the ISEQ ahead firmly. There were no huge volumes in yesterday's trading but dealers were happy with the firmer tone.

CRH - the classic value stock on the Irish market - continued its strong recovery after the heavy losses of November and rose a full 87 cents yesterday to #19.25. CRH has now risen almost 20 per cent in two weeks, an indication of how the pendulum has swung back towards value stocks.

Financial shares were also in good demand with AIB 20 cents higher on #12.90 while Bank of Ireland was 16 cents higher on #9.85 after hitting #10.05 in mid-session trading. Anglo Irish has been one of the best performing financials in the past couple of weeks, on the back of good results and its private banking acquisition in Switzerland. Irish Life & Permanent gained 10 cents to #12.80.

Recent buying by the McCann family did not help Fyffes shares which drifted back six cents to #0.82 while Heiton lost three cents to #2.83 as 1.2 million shares - about 2.5 per cent of the equity - went through the market.

Eircom lost four cents to #2.84 and is unlikely to go anywhere until there is some clarity on the various asset disposals.

Ryanair remained a favourite and gained another 34 cents to #11.60, Smurfit drifted two cents to #2.03 while Waterford Wedgwood edged ahead a cent to #1.21 as almost three million shares traded.

A "buy" note and a 500p sterling target from Robertson Stephens did not help Baltimore, which lost 14-1/2p to 443-1/2p sterling. Trintech, however, had a much better day after a pretty awful couple of weeks on the Neuer Markt and was up #1.35 on #14.20.