Slight rise in European shares while Iseq edges up .65%

BoI and housebuilder Abbey rise on back of Central Bank move on mortgage lending

European shares edged up on Thursday, remaining within a recent range, as a boost from healthcare stocks was partly offset by weak telecoms and utilities.

The STOXX Europe 600 index ended up 0.3 per cent. The session was quiet with Wall Street shut for the Thanksgiving holiday.


The Iseq index rose 0.65 per cent to 6,292.89, with housebuilder Abbey counting among the main risers, adding 4 per cent to €13, as investors concluded that the industry will be helped by this week's Central Bank move to ease lending restrictions for first-time buyers.

Bank of Ireland also rose as much as 2.4 per cent as Merrion Capital raised its price target for the stock on foot of the Central Bank tweaks.


Combined with the impact of the Government’s help-to-buy plan, a first-time-buying “couple working and paying taxes in Ireland for the past five years on a combined salary of €100,000 have seen their cash contribution for a €350,000 new house fall from about €48,000 to €13,000,” Merrion Capital analyst Darren McKinley said.

Providence Resources jumped 9.1 per cent to 13.2 cent after announcing that it had signed a deal to begin drilling an exploratory well in June in a key prospect off the southwest coast of Ireland.

Elsewhere, CRH added 2.4 per cent to €31.90, while Kingspan gained 2.3 per cent to €24.80. Bucking the trend, Ryanair lost 1.4 per cent to €14.05.

Irish-based UDG lost 6.8 per cent on the London market to £6.145, after the group reported a weak European performance in one of its units. Management said an uptick for its pharma packaging and barcoding business in the US from incoming drug track and trace rules was "a little slower" than expected.


Britain's top share index ended broadly flat, with some firms, including National Grid, falling after trading without the attraction of their latest dividend payouts.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended up 0.17 per cent at 6,829.20 after closing almost flat in the previous session. It has been trading in a tight range for almost two weeks, but is still up over 9 per cent so far this year.

National Grid, Vodafone, DCC, Carnival, BT, Mediclinic and Johnson Matthey were among the top fallers, down between 0.6 per cent and 2.3 per cent, after their shares traded ex-dividends.

Babcock International shares fell 1.3 per cent after brokerage Liberum cut its target price to 960 pence from 1,050 pence.

Direct Line Group rose 2.8 per cent, the top FTSE 100 gainer, after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock to "overweight" from "equal-weight".

Among mid-caps, Britain's biggest pizza delivery firm, Domino's, rose more than 3 per cent after saying it planned to increase its presence across the country to 1,600 stores after seeing a strong performance from new outlets and a positive market outlook.

British estate agent Countrywide fell 12 per cent to a record low after warning again that its 2016 core earnings would be hit by lower property market activity since Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Countrywide’s shares have also come under pressure after the government said on Wednesday that it would ban one-off tenant fees charged by estate agents, in an attempt to bring down the cost of renting.


Denmark's Vestas rose 5.2 per cent after Credit Suisse lifted its price target on the world's biggest wind power company. The stock had fallen more than 20 per cent after climate change-sceptic Donald Trump won the race to the White House, raising uncertainty on US energy and renewables policies.

Heavyweight pharma stocks Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche all rose by 0.5- 1.1 per cent, as their sector rebounded following recent losses.

Chemical firm Arkema rose 1 per cent after UBS raised its target price on the stock.

Italian bank Monte dei Paschi rose 3.3 per cent ahead of an investor vote on a €5 billion share issue needed to stave off the risk of being wound down.


There was no trading on Wall Street on Thursday as investors enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 eked out fresh record closes on Wednesday ahead of the break.

– (Additional reporting: Reuters)

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times