Interest in front-liners allows market to shrug off foreign woes


DEMAND for some front line shares allowed the market to shrug off the weakness in London and New York and it closed up almost half a per cent even though London closed down 28 points and New York was over 30 points weaker at the Irish close.

There seems to be no let-up in demand for Bank of Ireland shares, with investors taking the view that the suggested pricing of the Woolwich flotation emphasises the attractions of the bank's takeover of Bristol & West building society. Bank of Ireland closed up 10p on 565p and further widened the gap with AIB, which eased back 1p to 391p.

CRH was the other star performer. It dealt up 7 1/2p to 622 1/2p boosted by some sizeable trading in London where the share traded up 11p to 615p sterling on turnover of 635,000 shares.

Smurfit remained in demand, with an increasing view in the market that any adverse trading conditions are now priced into the shares and that there is only upside from here. They closed up 1 1/2p on 181p.

Elsewhere, Clondalkin saw demand and rose from an overnight 480p to a closing 488 1/2p sterling Fyffes drifted off its recent high and closed down 2p on 110p.

There was little reaction to half-year results from Heiton, but the share edged 1p higher to 101p, while Kingspan was slightly affected by some heavy selling at 525p by a director and closed on 520p sterling. The new, cleaned-up, McInerney continued to impress on its second day on the market and closed up 3p on 47p.

Gilts were slightly lower after the sharp falls of Monday as talk of rate rises in Britain and the US added to fears of a similar rise in domestic interest rates.

Stock was pretty well-offered and at the close, five-year gilts were on a yield of 6.26 per cent, ten's on a yield of 6.78 per cent, while the long gilt was yielding 7.03 per cent at the close.