Financial shares come under pressure despite London gain


FINANCIAL shares came under renewed pressure on the Dublin market despite a recovery in London, a 50-point opening on Wall Street and more stable bond prices.

The ISEQ financial index fell 1.7 per cent on the day. This brings the fall in the financial index to almost 4 per cent this week, most of it accounted for by sharp falls by AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Yesterday, AIB came under pressure out of London where over 700,000 shares traded and closed down 12 1/2p on 330 1/2p, its lowest level for about three months. Bank of Ireland was also weaker but fell only 3p to 429 1/2p. Other financials also drifted lower, with Irish Life off 1 1/2p to 243 1/2p, Irish Permanent 2p lower on 396p and Woodchester off 5p on 180p.

Industrials were mixed but Smurfit fell 3p to 143p following the reports in this newspaper that Tiger Management was attempting to sell its remaining 40 million shares in the group. Until the overhanging Tiger shares are securely placed, it is difficult to see Smurfit shares recovering, but the word in the market is that potential buyers are not willing to pay the sort of price that Tiger is looking for 140p per share.

CRH was 2p firmer on 508p, Grafton gained 5p to 465p ahead of today's full year results, Greencore came off its high and closed down 3p on 567p while Kerry was unchanged but well bid on 520p. Newcomer Ormonde was unchanged on its placing price of 12p.

After a better tone in early trading, gilts closed not far off their overnight levels, with most dealers keeping an eye on the Greenspan congressional testimony.